Swinney: Players who sit out bowl might as well sit out final year

Clemson's Dabo Swinney is in Miami coach Mark Richt's camp when it comes to players sitting out of bowl games.

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Swinney doesn't like it, and he made his feelings known Friday during a Fiesta Bowl press conference. His Tigers will take on Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal Saturday, and while none of his players will be sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft, Swinney said those who are going that route might as well as sit out their entire senior season.

"You can get hurt in any game and every game is huge," he said, per ESPN. "It's about team and there are always risks involved when you play this game. Players have insurance policies. To go play is huge. I just need 11 that want to play. If a guy doesn't want to play, I promise the guy behind him does."

The topic became a controversy last week after LSU's Leonard Fournette and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, both junior RBs who intend to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, announced they would skip their teams' bowl games to prepare for the draft. Baylor RB Shock Linwood, a senior, opted to do the same, sitting out of Baylor's game in the Cactus Bowl this week.

There certainly is a risk of injury in every game, but Swinney's math is a little fuzzy if he's equating sitting out a full season with sitting out of a middle- or lower-tier bowl game. And yes, some players do have insurance policies (Fournette does). Jaylon Smith reportedly collected $900,000 in loss-of-value insurance this year, and Smith himself acknowledges that he lost millions when he suffered a severe knee injury in last year's Fiesta Bowl and fell to the second round of the draft.

So, it's no surprise that there are coaches who don't like the idea of players sitting out of games, and, understandably, there are prospects who don't want to risk injury in a bowl game where they don't have much to gain from playing.

As for how NFL scouts view this issue, it seems to be on a case-by-case basis. An NFC West scout told CFB 24/7 that Fournette and McCaffrey were smart not to play in a bowl game. On the other hand, a different scout questioned Linwood's decision.

We'll find out at the draft this spring if the bowl decisions hurt any of the prospects who sat out. Sitting out a full season? That method hasn't been tested yet, and we're guessing no college player is eager to be the first to try.

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