A lot was made of star running backs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey not playing for their teams in the postseason.
McCaffrey made it clear his absence from Stanford’s bowl was to prepare for the NFL, but Fournette had been nursing an ankle injury for much of the season and sitting out the bowl was best for his health. Fournette initially said he made that decision in conjunction with LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. However, Fournette told NFL Network Friday that Orgeron actually made the decision outright.
“To be honest, it really wasn’t my decision,” Fournette told NFL Network. “My coach brought me into the office. He told me, ‘You have a lot on the line.’ He didn’t want me to play. I cried like a baby. It was hard for me. That was my first time not really traveling with the team and I couldn’t play in a game with my brothers. I’m going to miss them.”
When asked later in the interview if sitting out bowls could become a trend for other college players, Fournette reiterated that the decision — whoever made it — was made with his future in mind.
“I can’t say that. My decision was about me and my future. And also my coach made it for me. I don’t regret going to LSU. I don’t regret nothing I did,” Fournette said.
Fournette ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore, but the ankle injury limited him to 843 yards in seven games in 2016. Fournette said his health is back where it needs to be and he plans to run at the combine next month.
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