Tyler Linderbaum was widely viewed as the best center in the 2022 NFL draft throughout the last college football season, and he didn’t have to prove anything by playing in Iowa’s bowl game. But he did, and he got hurt.
Fortunately, the foot injury Linderbaum suffered in the Citrus Bowl is expected to be healed in time for Linderbaum to do a Pro Day workout in front of NFL scouts. But the injury is the latest reminder that players are taking a real risk with their careers when they choose to play in a bowl game.
Linderbaum said he doesn’t regret playing in the bowl and wanted to finish the season with his teammates. That’s an admirable approach that NFL teams will like.
Realistically, however, the number of college football players who sit out bowl games is only going to increase. Unless name, image and likeness rights become lucrative enough for players to get significant bowl game bonuses, there are strong financial incentives for players not to play in bowl games.