Posted on June 13, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When Coach Boone asked Petey Jones why he was smiling, Jones responded by saying what countless football players have said when asked why they play: “Cause I love football. Football is fun.”
Jones changed his mind by the time that conversation was over, but for most football players would agree with him. They love the game and think it is a lot of fun.
Carolina Panthers rookie running back Christian McCaffrey would like nothing more than to be having fun as he plays football with his new team. But thanks to a silly little rule he has not been allowed to do so since Stanford operates on a quarter system.
So—since he can’t play with the team and go through the work with them during OTAs, McCaffrey has decided he will not have any fun.
Zero fun, sir.
“I figure the guys on my team aren’t doing anything fun, so I’m trying to walk in and stay on their schedule,” said McCaffrey. “I’m trying to put myself as much in a situation as they’re in as possible…“
Players from schools that are on a quarter system have been unable to join their respective teams due to a rule that says they can’t until classes are done. It doesn’t matter if they are enrolled in classes (which McCaffrey is not). They are not allowed to join team workouts until school is out.
McCaffrey hasn’t been having fun with his time like most 22-year olds would be. He has been doing what he can to prepare for his rookie season with the Panthers. He’s been watching film and spending a lot of time on the phone with Panthers running backs coach, Jim Skipper.
But come Wednesday he will be on the field and going through the paces during Day Two of mini-camp.
“I won’t be behind as far as the plays go in practice,” McCaffrey said (via PFT). “Getting acclimated and comfortable with the team, I’ll be a little bit behind. But that will come…It’s tough being away from a competitive atmosphere for that long, but I still push myself every day in my training and studies.”
The rule has good intentions behind it, but it just doesn’t work. The hope is that since guys can’t join their teams until school is out, they will keep going to class.
The rule fails to consider that these guys are not concerned about picking up a textbook. They have already gotten that all-important first job—and it comes with a multi-million-dollar contract. So, they have gotten what every student wants to get out of college.
They want to pick up their playbook and study it.
The hard part was accomplished during their time in school. They became ready to get a job after school—and got one. They should be allowed to get to work.
McCaffrey will finally be able to get to work this week at Carolina’s mandatory minicamp—and it will be fun.