Ed Orgeron defends Leonard Fournette sitting out bowl game
Leonard Fournette was at the center of a bit of controversy last December when he sat out LSU’s Citrus Bowl appearance, with detractors arguing that he could have played, but didn’t want to get hurt and damage his NFL Draft stock.
Fournette’s college coach, Ed Orgeron, thinks that narrative is nonsense.
Orgeron said Monday at SEC Media Day that there was nothing Fournette could have done to play as he battled an ankle injury.
“That last game, going into the bowl, Leonard could not play. Leonard came to me in tears. He said, ‘Coach, I can’t go, I can’t play,'” Orgeron said, via Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. “I said, ‘Leonard, I understand, we will not put you in jeopardy, son, don’t worry about it. I will tell the media.’ Things you heard that he may have skipped the game or whatever, that has nothing to do with anything. In fact, against Florida, he didn’t practice all weekend. He wasn’t supposed to play. He tried to play. He wanted to play.”
Fournette had a pretty clear response to the criticism at the time, too. All involved firmly believe that he couldn’t have played due to injury, and in the end, it didn’t negatively impact his perception among NFL teams, as the Jacksonville Jaguars took him fourth overall.