Kamal Martin to Bypass the Outback Bowl

btowngopher

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If you want a real laugh, check out the story on the Strib about Martin skipping the bowl game - and then read the "comments" posted after the story.

Like others, I'm not a big fan of the trend of players not playing in bowl games.

One question I would have - do NFL teams take it into account? If an NFL team said "we were going to draft player X but we dropped him off the board when he sat out the bowl game...." - you can bet that players would change their stance in a heartbeat.

question - can players get some kind of insurance to protect them in case they're injured in a bowl game? Maybe get some kind of group policy that covers draft-eligible players to keep the premiums reasonable?
I doubt NFL teams factor that in. Even if they did mark it as a negative, I’m sure a major injury would be far more detrimental.
 

gopherdudepart2

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I wouldn't play either with injury he had but I hope he can travel and support his teammates on the sideline at least.
 

JWG

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Assuming it's current injury related, ok. If it's just to prevent an injury I think it's unfair to his team and teammates. I don't like this trend overall (not specific to Martin).
 

MNVCGUY

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Assuming it's current injury related, ok. If it's just to prevent an injury I think it's unfair to his team and teammates. I don't like this trend overall (not specific to Martin).
I feel very similar about this trend. Auburn's first round DT (Brown) has already said he is playing and I would bet most of their other draft players will follow his lead.

If a player is truly injured leading up to the game and not 100% I can understand sitting out but this idea of skipping the game to prep for the draft or avoid potential injury sucks. Injuries in football can literally happen anytime. Given that football is the ultimate team game it really stinks for the team when guys put their interests first and leave their teammates in a tough spot without one of their best players.

It is what it is, and doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon but it is really unfortunate that skipping bowl games has become as accepted as it has these days in my opinion.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Something we don't know is how a player's teammates feel about him skipping the bowl game. If the coaches and the other players are OK with it, then I suppose the rest of us will just have to accept it.

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall and hear the conversations in the locker room.

I suspect there are guys who would like Martin to play, but I also suspect the majority of players will see things from his point of view.
 

coolhandgopher

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The trend's been very recent, I think I am recalling correctly that 2017 was the first year this occurred when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery skipped their respective bowl games. Worked out just fine for them (overall picks #4 and 8, respectively).

I have a really tough time being critical of players, particularly seniors, particularly those who battled injuries forgoing the bowl game for preparation towards their career, as fragile and short-term as that career may potentially be, given the realities of pro football. Without knowing Martin, my guess is that this decision did not come easily, given his tight relationship with his teammates and representation of his home state. Hell, he could have had a quiet conversation with Fleck, traveled with the team and partake in the festivities and stay on the sidelines most of/the entire game and no one would have been the wiser.

Instead, he was straightforward, honest, and thankful to the team and university in his statement. A class act and one deserving of the fanbase's support.
 

coolhandgopher

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For a bit more context, Jaylon Smith's 2016 injury in the Fiesta Bowl, where he tore his MCL and ACL, was the catalyst for this trend. Smith was projected as a top 5 overall pick and slid to #34 (second round). For an elite talent like Smith, by last year's rookie scale, those injuries cost him a contract worth $29 million ($19 million signing bonus) to a contract worth $7.5 ($2.5 million bonus).

For mid to lower round draft picks, similar injuries or I would presume, nagging injuries that limit participation in Senior Bowls, combines, etc., can make a more dramatic difference to their future as pros.
 

gopherjay

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I understand the decision but skipping bowl games is so lame. I wish players would play for their teammates , coaches, and university instead of the money and it’s not like Kemal is a 1st round pick
Did you not understand he is hurt? Could play maybe but if he is not 100% why?
 

CWCWCW

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When a player makes this decision, are they "off" the team? Does the academic scholarship continue? Can they eat at the training table? Can they use the football facilities?
I would think there is some liability issues but don't know.
 

MNVCGUY

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When a player makes this decision, are they "off" the team? Does the academic scholarship continue? Can they eat at the training table? Can they use the football facilities?
I would think there is some liability issues but don't know.
Probably depends on what the player does. I am sure a player could skip the game and remain in school and on the roster. I know most of these guys though leave school and go somewhere down south to focus on draft prep. Once they drop out of school they would be off the roster.
 

Bruno22

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For a bit more context, Jaylon Smith's 2016 injury in the Fiesta Bowl, where he tore his MCL and ACL, was the catalyst for this trend. Smith was projected as a top 5 overall pick and slid to #34 (second round). For an elite talent like Smith, by last year's rookie scale, those injuries cost him a contract worth $29 million ($19 million signing bonus) to a contract worth $7.5 ($2.5 million bonus).

For mid to lower round draft picks, similar injuries or I would presume, nagging injuries that limit participation in Senior Bowls, combines, etc., can make a more dramatic difference to their future as pros.
This. Fournette was battling injuries starting the preseason of his junior year. It is not mutually exclusive to think of the game as your first love and appreciate your teammates to the highest degree while desiring chances at early financial independence and decreased risk of long term disability.

You wonder if in other situations, the player felt like they already gave the university a season/game to remember. The year prior to leaving, McCaffrey broke the all purpose yardage record during the Cardinal season and broke the Rose Bowl record (Iowa was done within the first 5 min of that game; it was the first time I saw Mccaffrey... WOW). He sat out the Sun Bowl and left the opportunity to make memories in El Paso...
Fournette gave LSU fans a new rushing yardage and TD record the prior season. He made them think that he could take it to the house every play w his yards per game avg. He was also not going to play in a NY6 or National Championship game that post season.
 

WoodburyTim

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Have any of his teammates complained?

Dude played hurt in the Wisc game too...
True and players of course are entitled to make the decisions that are best for themselves. But is it good for the game or the fans? No. And at the end of the day the paying fans are what makes the whole structure of big time athletics go.

This of course if this is not injury related and instead for draft preparation. Two separate issues.
 

60's Guy

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I agree with several...sitting out to avoid injury and sitting out to get optimally healthy after injury for the purpose of testing well are two separate issues.
Kamal sitting out makes sense. Todd McShay has him as a third round pick. Test well, solidify or improve that evaluation at the combine.
Best of luck to Kamal!
 

NotAFanOfBecky

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Take this for what it's worth, but a pretty connected booster told me that he's hurt, he could play but the doctors told him that the chance of aggravating the injury is highly likely. If that's the case the timetable to get well for the Senior Bowl and Combine are too tight and that's why he's sitting out.
 

Otis

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He
Probably depends on what the player does. I am sure a player could skip the game and remain in school and on the roster. I know most of these guys though leave school and go somewhere down south to focus on draft prep. Once they drop out of school they would be off the roster.
He could take his fall term finals, he went to class so why wouldn't you? Then go to Florida to do his draft training and be on the sideline as a member of the team for the bowl! Then withdraw from school after he gets his Outback bag of swag and gets to cheer on his teammates from the sideline!
I almost guarantee this is his plan.
 

PitinoFan

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Kamal’s injuries aside, I cringed when skipping bowl games first became a thing. My position on this has evolved. There’s too much at stake for these young men to risk injury in a meaningless bowl game. Go get the money.
 

GopherCountry

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I thought I saw it on twitter somewhere, but could be wrong. Any news on any others yet whether in or out?
 

howeda7

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Still don't like the trend of guys skipping bowl games, but it clearly isn't going anywhere and is only going to get more and more common most likely.

I can understand why players do it though, best of luck to Kamal and hopefully the extra prep and rest will help him draft wise.
I understand why Martin's doing it, but I don't really understand the larger trend. Having a great Bowl Game, especially in a high profile one can certainly help your draft stock. I'd wager Maxx Williams helped his with the TD he had against Missouri.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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I understand why Martin's doing it, but I don't really understand the larger trend. Having a great Bowl Game, especially in a high profile one can certainly help your draft stock. I'd wager Maxx Williams helped his with the TD he had against Missouri.
I think it is unlikely scouts change their evaluation based on one bowl game.

If it is an out of character performance ... they'd probabbly just see it as that.
 

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I think it is unlikely scouts change their evaluation based on one bowl game.

If it is an out of character performance ... they'd probabbly just see it as that.
I know it's not the same sport but many players improved their draft status by having a good game in the NCAA basketball tournament. For example, Johnny Flynn tricked David Kahn into believing he was a stud player with one good game.
 

die hard gopher

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I know it's not the same sport but many players improved their draft status by having a good game in the NCAA basketball tournament. For example, Johnny Flynn tricked David Kahn into believing he was a stud player with one good game.
Same with Royce White against Anthony Davis.
 

die hard gopher

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I think it is unlikely scouts change their evaluation based on one bowl game.

If it is an out of character performance ... they'd probabbly just see it as that.
Martin also doesn’t have the sample size like Tyler Johnson does of quality games. So a big game for him would do more than guys like Tyler who have been better for longer.
 
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