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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Mike Leach blasts ‘selfish’ players who sit out bowl games

The trend of college football players skipping bowl games has become increasingly popular in recent years, and Mike Leach is disgusted by it.

Leach was asked on Saturday about players choosing to skip bowl games in order to begin preparing for the NFL Draft. The Mississippi State coach said he simply cannot understand the motivation behind it.

“You’ve got an obligation to the place that helped build and develop you and finish it out in the bowl,” Leach said, via Andy Kostka of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “That’s part of it. You owe it to your team, you owe it to your fans, you owe it to your coaches and it’s the most bizarre thing in the world to me.”

The flip side, of course, is that players don’t want to risk suffering an injury that may impact their ability to play professionally or hurt their draft stock. That isn’t good enough for Leach.

“They think they’re going to have a storied 10-year NFL career, and then they can’t play one more college game. Well, that’s ridiculous,” he added. “I mean, guys will go to the NFL, they’ll make the Pro Bowl and then they’ll play in the Pro Bowl. It’s one of the biggest absurdities that I’ve seen, and it’s selfish, too.”

It’s worth noting that many NFL players skip the Pro Bowl for the same reasons college players skip their bowl games.

Mississippi State will take on Texas Tech in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28. Leach said he is unsure if any Bulldogs players plan to opt out of the game. Offensive tackle Charles Cross, a potential first-round pick in 2022, did not practice on Saturday.

Leach certainly isn’t the first coach who has spoken out against players skipping bowl games. Some will say coaches ripping it is hypocritical, but there’s no question the trend hurts the product on the field.

Photo: Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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