Earlier this week we brought you word that columnist Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer had penned a column questioning whether or not South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should play in 2013. The Gamecock star is sure to be a high, high draft pick when he is able to turn pro in 2014, but under the NFL rules, he’s not eligible to make the leap now.
Sorensen simply asked should he play this fall? Should he play not to get hurt? Or should he skip his junior season altogether? Those are fair questions considering Clowney’s circumstances, though no one really believes he would consider skipping the upcoming season.
The ever-solid Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constituation got South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s take on the situation:
“Well, I hope he plays this year, and I certainly believe he should play. Now if money was his only goal in life, then he couldn’t play. And he might not get into a car before next year’s draft, so he wouldn’t be in a car wreck and get injured. He would be just very, very careful for a year not to have any kind of injury.
But Jadeveon likes football. Football players play football. They don’t wait around on this, that or the other. He’s really good about avoiding injuries and so forth. He knows how to get out of harm’s way if there’s a big pileup around a tackle. I think the odds of him getting hurt as not nearly as much as a running back or somebody like that.
I think he wants to play. I certainly hope and believe he does. I think he should play for South Carolina this season.”
Rather than just giving his take and stopping right there, the Ol’ Ball Coach just had to work in a shot at the media (as if no one close to Clowney had considered any of this before Sorensen and those discussing Sorensen’s column brought it to their attention):
“I wasn’t surprised by the media reaction to the idea because those guys have got to talk about something for three hours every day, and that’s something to talk about. Should he stay? Should he sit out and wait for the money?
Most of the guys that say he should sit out, they don’t realize the benefits of being on a college football team, and continuing with your teammates to have as big of a year as you possibly can. The money is going to be there down the road, so why would a person give up the thrill of playing college football?
Those people have never played football, so they say he should sit out and get the money. That’s the only side of sports they see — the money. There’s a lot more to it than just the money.”
I didn’t watch ESPN’s coverage of the story, but I haven’t stumbled across very many people who’ve said Clowney should sit out the 2013 season. Not even Sorensen wrote that. He simply asked questions that called attention to the ongoing debate over the NFL’s age requirements.
Spurrier is correct on one thing, though: It’s a college football topic to discuss in February. Now, if he’d prefer no one talk about his program and its stars, he should alert the media to that fact. I’m sure plenty of folks would be happy to nix the free promotion he and the Gamecock program receive every time the Clowney situation is discussed.
Then again, Spurrier was the one who complained to the SEC office that Alabama’s program was getting free plugs on ESPN with that “Roll Tide” promo a couple of years back.