STrib: Gophers' Antoine Winfield Jr. plans to play in Outback Bowl; NFL could await

BleedGopher

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per Megan:

Antoine Winfield Jr. didn’t waver at all about playing in the Outback Bowl. But that’s not the only major decision ahead of him, with leaving for the NFL draft a possibility.

“Yeah, I knew I was going to play in the bowl game,” the safety said Friday. “So I’m just excited to get out there and play, play one more with my boys.”

Winfield is a fourth-year sophomore because of back-to-back season-ending injuries the previous two years, meaning he’ll graduate this spring with the rest of the senior class. And playing one more game with them — including roommates Carter Coughlin and Thomas Barber — was a “super important” opportunity Winfield couldn’t forsake.

“It’s just crazy to see how far we’ve come and where we’ve come from,” Winfield said. “And just playing in this final game is going to be an amazing experience. Just one last time with all the seniors.”

It could be Winfield’s last time as well. He leads the Gophers with 83 tackles and seven interceptions and is a unanimous All-America, just the seventh in Gophers history and first since center Greg Eslinger in 2005. He also joins his father, Antoine Winfield Sr., a unanimous All-America in 1998 at Ohio State before going on to a long NFL career, mostly with the Vikings.

Winfield could soon follow in his father’s footsteps and declare for the NFL draft. He said right now, all his focus is on facing Auburn in the bowl game Jan. 1, and any decision he makes will probably come after that game.


Go Gophers!!
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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I wouldn't blame him if he did but glad to see him one more time.
 

#2Gopher

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Martin needs to get healthy 100% for the next chapter of his life. Meanwhile great to have Winfield one more time at least!
 

GoGophersUMN

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I wonder what the full context of his quote is. I hate that they're just mixing in actual quotes and commentary by the writer. "One final game" sounds like he already made up his mind but maybe in context it's one final game together for the 2016 freshman class. Awful journalism but that's not surprising considering the source.
 

Bruno22

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He’s a better man than Kamal Martin. He’s the true meaning of F.A.M.I.L.Y.
I hope you have a physical job that involves bodily harm leading to risk for CTE, chronic pain, ligament damage, affected gait and early osteo/post traumatic arthritis.
I also hope you have a job has not yet, but may, allow for early financial independence (but you are for whatever reason mandated to risk losing that opportunity).

This is a rather selfish and ignorant.
 

kellyleeks

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I hope you have a physical job that involves bodily harm leading to risk for CTE, chronic pain, ligament damage, affected gait and early osteo/post traumatic arthritis.
I also hope you have a job has not yet, but may, allow for early financial independence (but you are for whatever reason mandated to risk losing that opportunity).

This is a rather selfish and ignorant.
Martin’s tweet didn’t mention injury. Someone here pointed out that he’s not playing due to injury. I subsequently said I made mistake.
 

Bruno22

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Martin’s tweet didn’t mention injury. Someone here pointed out that he’s not playing due to injury. I subsequently said I made mistake.
(y)(y)

I just did not want it to be a blanket statement even for those players who may not be injured.
 

kellyleeks

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Martin’s tweet didn’t mention injury. Someone here pointed out that he’s not playing due to injury. I subsequently said I made mistake.

I’m not
(y)(y)

I just did not want it to be a blanket statement even for those players who may not be injured.
If you aren’t injured and choose not to play then you quit on your team and the fan base that supports the team. And by fan base, I mean the people that pay for your education through ticket sales, solicited and unsolicited donations, etc. In my opinion it’d be no different than leaving mid season. However, that’s not the case here.
 

Bruno22

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If you aren’t injured and choose not to play then you quit on your team and the fan base that supports the team. And by fan base, I mean the people that pay for your education through ticket sales, solicited and unsolicited donations, etc. In my opinion it’d be no different than leaving mid season. However, that’s not the case here.
That is fine. To each their own. We can think about whether the fan base 'paying for education' is equivalent to making a salary (a whole other debate and partially a chicken and egg kind of thing in terms of him attracting ticket sales/boosters/etc).

I do not think it is equivalent to quitting mid season. But that may be just because I have never seen it before without semi justifiable cause.

I believe most are of the mindset that you go to college to get a job. That is a large part what makes college a successful journey. To get a job doing what you are passionate about is icing on the cake. For most professions or general employment jobs, you have to go to college for all four years. There is also minimal to zero in risk in hurting your 'employment stock' by staying and going to the lab the last semester. Mission accomplished for those who are able to do this at year 1, 2, 3 or 4 of college and feel confident about getting an offer (for any line of work). Should fans of the Harvard computer science (or whatever track he was on) be upset bc he left early? He did take a spot of another applicant who could have done great things and published/presented specifically on behalf of university professors rather than himself. (Yes, slightly apples to oranges because he ended up an honorary degree later but not egregiously so).

The upside to staying/playing cannot be viewed the same for those who choose a career as a professional athlete (because of the risks stated above )when compared to those who (again) go to college to enter a profession as a physician/surgeon, scientist, teacher, professor, writer etc.

We all went to college for the same end goal.

Again, a lot of people share your viewpoint I am sure. So all good.
 

Gold Rush

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If you read between the lines though it does sound like this will be his last game and he will be declaring for the draft after the game. So -- hopefully he can play his very best game and make it a good one!!
 

Spoofin

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Glad he is playing. I don’t think he should, but I will enjoy watching him one more time.
 

cjbfbp

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Glad he is playing. I don’t think he should, but I will enjoy watching him one more time.
The defensive end from Auburn who is projected as a high first rounder isn't sitting out. He said that he was a man of his word and he's going to finish what he started. In Kamal's case I understand sitting out but I think healthy players should play particularly in a bowl of this stature where we are going to need all hands on deck.
 

Spoofin

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The defensive end from Auburn who is projected as a high first rounder isn't sitting out. He said that he was a man of his word and he's going to finish what he started. In Kamal's case I understand sitting out but I think healthy players should play particularly in a bowl of this stature where we are going to need all hands on deck.
I understand this thought, but IMO AWjr11 doesn’t owe the U anything at this point. He should do whatever he thinks is right for him. He does, but if he didn’t want to play I would have zero issue with that. When talking about the NFL we are talking about changing someone’s entire life. The prospect is way more important than the Outback Bowl. IMO.
 

alchemy2u

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Then my mistake.
Maybe you should have done your homework before you jump to conclusions and attack the character of a player that has put his heart and souls into the program!
 

cjbfbp

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Maybe you should have done your homework before you jump to conclusions and attack the character of a player that has put his heart and souls into the program!
Knock it off. The person has apologized multiple times. What more do you expect? And what is the reward for being the 10th person to pile on?
 

upnorthkid

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I understand this thought, but IMO AWjr11 doesn’t owe the U anything at this point. He should do whatever he thinks is right for him. He does, but if he didn’t want to play I would have zero issue with that. When talking about the NFL we are talking about changing someone’s entire life. The prospect is way more important than the Outback Bowl. IMO.
can I ask then, a guy who has solidified himself as a top couple round draft pick, should he just quit at that point (ie should Chase Young have quit around game 5 this season? Or Joe Burrow)? Or is it "just" bowl games
 

GophersInIowa

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The defensive end from Auburn who is projected as a high first rounder isn't sitting out. He said that he was a man of his word and he's going to finish what he started. In Kamal's case I understand sitting out but I think healthy players should play particularly in a bowl of this stature where we are going to need all hands on deck.
A different D-lineman for Auburn announced yesterday he is sitting out. Not sure how good he is though.
 

Spoofin

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can I ask then, a guy who has solidified himself as a top couple round draft pick, should he just quit at that point (ie should Chase Young have quit around game 5 this season? Or Joe Burrow)? Or is it "just" bowl games
Interesting. Honestly, my first thought is sure. If Chase thought it would be in his best interest to leave after game 5 then he should do it. I doubt that scenario would be in his best interest - but If he thought so then yes. Players aren’t under contract - if they want their scholly then they need to play. If they want to give up those scholly then it should be their choice.
 

stocker08

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I understand this thought, but IMO AWjr11 doesn’t owe the U anything at this point. He should do whatever he thinks is right for him. He does, but if he didn’t want to play I would have zero issue with that. When talking about the NFL we are talking about changing someone’s entire life. The prospect is way more important than the Outback Bowl. IMO.
Not bailing on his team is a sign of character. That could certainly be something that NFL teams value in a prospect. Also worth mentioning....Winfield has not declared for the draft yet.
 

Spoofin

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Not bailing on his team is a sign of character. That could certainly be something that NFL teams value in a prospect. Also worth mentioning....Winfield has not declared for the draft yet.
“Bailing on his team” or considering leaving school early to be a sign of bad character seems a bit over the top. We are talking about someone’s livelihood and career (NFL) vs a game (Outback Bowl).
 

stocker08

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“Bailing on his team” or considering leaving school early to be a sign of bad character seems a bit over the top. We are talking about someone’s livelihood and career (NFL) vs a game (Outback Bowl).
I never said anything about "bad character". I said that choosing to play in the bowl game is a sign of good character. Something that I would think NFL teams would value. Plenty of NFL players choose themselves over their team....or don't play 100%.

And like I said....Winfield hasn't announced that he's leaving yet.
 

kellyleeks

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Maybe you should have done your homework before you jump to conclusions and attack the character of a player that has put his heart and souls into the program!
Oh the outrage. I’ve said I made a mistake twice already on this. Go f yourself.
 

fmlizard

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There's almost no players nationally that I have heard of sitting out bowl games. I think that trend is mostly players who were already hurt and would have to press to make it back for their bowl. Like Kamal Martin. It makes sense for them to avoid a re-injury 6 weeks or so before the Combine. That was the case for the Gophers who sat out last year.

As for AWJr, he's proven all he needs to on the field but he's still not even in a lot of Top 10 safety prospects for the draft. FCS dudes are ahead of him. I don't get it. He probably won't rise by staying another year, but the sure riches and NFL success also don't appear to be there for him right away.
 

Spoofin

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There's almost no players nationally that I have heard of sitting out bowl games. I think that trend is mostly players who were already hurt and would have to press to make it back for their bowl. Like Kamal Martin. It makes sense for them to avoid a re-injury 6 weeks or so before the Combine. That was the case for the Gophers who sat out last year.

As for AWJr, he's proven all he needs to on the field but he's still not even in a lot of Top 10 safety prospects for the draft. FCS dudes are ahead of him. I don't get it. He probably won't rise by staying another year, but the sure riches and NFL success also don't appear to be there for him right away.
You think so?
 
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