Matt Corral injury: Sugar Bowl decision fuels debate over opt outs
Matt Corral passionately explained why he wanted to play in the Sugar Bowl and not opt out to prepare for the NFL Draft.
But his first quarter right leg injury ignited a raging debate over players opting out of bowl games to avoid the exact type of injury Corral suffered. Corral was seen on crutches late in the second quarter. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit drew the ire of fans after he made comments Saturday morning when he said “this era of player just doesn’t love football” because of bowl opt outs ahead of the NFL Draft.
With 2:13 left in the first quarter, Corral suffered what appeared to be a right ankle injury and was helped off the field. It came after an earlier ankle injury against Auburn when he was carted off the field. He was 2-for-6 passing for 10 yards against Baylor on Saturday.
Baylor led 7-0 at halftime.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction:
I know it doesn’t fit the narrative but why should Matt Corral have played in the Egg Bowl? Or any game after it became clear his team wasn’t making the playoff? (Or even if they had.) All I’m trying to understand is why this is a bowl game discussion only.
— Tommy Deas (@tommydeas) January 2, 2022
My stance on bowl opt outs is clear: I don’t blame any player for opting out.
Same time, I hear all the time these college athletes are “adults” and needed to be treated as such.
Well, Matt Corral made an adult decision – there is no “right” or “wrong.”
It was *his* decision
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) January 2, 2022
This is why player’s opt out and no sane person can be mad at their choice. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their school. It’s just not worth it for a bowl that doesn’t offer you a chance for a title. And even that is debatable.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 2, 2022
After we won the Heisman in 2011, I made the decision to play in our bowl game because our program hadn’t won one in 19 years. That was my decision. Don’t condemn guys for opting out. Matt Corral’s injury is exactly why they do. Pray he is okay and his draft stock isn’t impacted.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 2, 2022
Matt Corral is hurt. His knee got rolled up on. He can barely even walk off the field.
This is why players opt out.
Matt Corral loves football and he loves Ole Miss.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) January 2, 2022
Matt Corral being carted off. And folks really get mad at players who opt out of bowl games.
— Jonas Pope IV (@JEPopeIV) January 2, 2022
Matt Corral wanted to play.
He loves his teammates and loves his school.
Instead of saying “that’s why players opt out” — maybe we just say get well soon.
(and I’m all for players opting out)
— Matt Hayes (@MattHayesCFB) January 2, 2022
Matt Corral getting his leg rolled up on and then needed to be helped off by trainers is why many guys opt out of bowl games.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 2, 2022
Hope Matt Corral gets well quickly…he wanted to play the game he loves with the teammates he loves…He shouldn’t have done anything other than what he wanted to do! He was trying to do what we all should at all times…exhaust your opportunties!!
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) January 2, 2022
Hope @KirkHerbstreit sees Matt Corral hurt and is happy. This is why people opt out.
— Andrew 🏊🏻♂️ (@eastsfinest2015) January 2, 2022
People: “why do these dudes opt out of bowl games. No class. Disrespectful”
Matt Corral is prime example
— Nate Carman (@coachcarman) January 2, 2022
I promise you, guys, Matt Corral does not want to be the poster boy for your “this is why guys opt out” takes. There’s a reason he suited up tonight, regardless of whether or not he was injured.
— Bret H. McCormick (@b_hoss_mac) January 2, 2022
Man, so glad you posted this. I’m sure Matt Corral will rest peacefully tonight knowing he has “dawg” status vs a future career in the NFL. Those losers that opt out the unpaid bowl game and make millions playing pro really should reevaluate their priorities
— KKatz (@OilfieldSlang) January 2, 2022
.@ESPNCFB features a coach who bailed on his team pre-bowl then moments later say kids who opt out of bowl games don’t love football.
Could it be they’re taking advantage of an opportunity at generational wealth and don’t want what just happened to Matt Corral to happen to them?
— Greg Starling (@gregstarling) January 2, 2022
Matt Corral probably lost a couple million — best case a couple hundred grand — but by all means question how much the until-recently-unpaid athletes love football because they opt out of postseason games specifically designed to generate profit for everyone but the players.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 2, 2022