The knee injury Jaylon Smith suffered in last season's Fiesta Bowl cost him millions and his 2016 campaign, as he won't play this season.
The former Notre Dame linebacker's draft stock fell after he suffered the injury vs. Ohio State. He went from potential top-five pick to a second-round choice of the Cowboys, but despite that, Smith says, via a tweet posted to his account on Monday, if he could do it over again, he'd still play in the bowl game.
A direct line is being drawn between Smith's injury and the decisions of LSU RB Leonard Fournette and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey to sit out of their bowl games this year to focus on NFL draft prep, which explains why Smith decided to reveal how he feels about his own situation.
Both Fournette and McCaffrey intend to enter the 2017 draft as underclassmen and dealt with injuries during the 2016 season, although certainly nothing as severe as what Smith suffered. Fournette missed four games this season with an ankle injury, and McCaffrey missed a game in October due to an injury that was not disclosed. Both players have drawn criticism for their decisions, with detractors bemoaning that they're choosing to protect their future interests rather than play in a bowl game.
While Smith is at peace with his own situation, if Fournette and McCaffrey don't want to take the chance that they'll one day have to reflect on what might have been, an NFL scout says they're being smart.