Amid an environment in which 10 players have now announced they’ll be sitting out their teams’ bowl games in order to protect their health in advance of the NFL Draft, Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew II said after practice on Thursday that he “couldn’t imagine” sitting out a bowl game.
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“They can make that decision. It’s something that would never cross my mind,” Minshew said. “You’ve got guys all around you fighting their tails off all year and I feel like you owe it to them — you owe it to them — the coaches, the fans to go out and give it your all, one last time.
“That’s another thing. It’s your last time to ever play with these guys. I couldn’t imagine — I’d do anything for just one more game, one more play. So to forfeit that on your own choice, that’s something I just couldn’t imagine doing.”
Skeptics might say that Minshew — a fifth-year grad transfer who has seen his draft stock rise, but who is still considered a mid-round pick, at best — doesn’t have as much on the line as, say, West Virginia Mountaineers QB Will Grier. But to those of us who have followed Minshew all season, it would be awfully hard to imagine him making a “business decision” if the situations were switched.
“It’s my first ever bowl game, so I’m just looking forward to taking it all in,” he said. “It’s the first game we’ve had that I could have people back home drive to, so I’ve got a bunch of people coming down, really excited to play in front of them, and I’m just looking forward to the game. Iowa State, they present a lot of challenges, very good, especially on defense. So man, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Minshew has thrown for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns so far this season, and he finished fifth in 2018 Heisman Trophy voting and won the Johnny Unitas Award. Additionally, he was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the player of the year by the conference’s coaches and the Associated Press.