He's a three-time All-American, a Bronco Nagurski, Ronnie Lott, and Dick Butkus Award winner, yet former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis is missing amongst the Senior Bowl scene in Mobile, Alabama this week.
While USC stars Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews are making a strong case to all start for the South team and all play themselves into the NFL Draft's first round, the story line once again was set up perfectly for Laurinaitis to oppose the speed freaks from the South.
Whether it was Ohio State's three straight beat downs to Florida, LSU and USC, or their heartbreaking loss to Texas, something has got to be the reason for his absence. The last time we saw him on the field, Colt McCoy shredded his defense on the last drive of the Fiesta Bowl. How can he settle with that being the last moment prior his potentially bright NFL career?
Considering Laurinaitis was once seen as a top 10 pick, his play in the Senior Bowl would likely provide a case for him in the NFL Draft despite the dismal performances of Ohio State in their aforementioned failures.
To me it seems clear, his departure from the game is strange way to not get out played by the nation's other big name linebackers, as he hopes the NFL scouts dwell on his combine numbers and his monster stats accumulated within Big Ten play.
For a guy who competes has hard, and seemingly plays to win as much as Laurinaitis, it baffles me at his absence.
The Senior Bowl is the perfect opportunity for the little Animal Warrior, as it is the NFL and their coaches themselves that run the show in Mobile. How can such a hyped NFL prospect pass on a virtual open tryout with the league?
The decision is ridiculous.
Whether it was previous Senior Bowl failures like Andre Woodson, or a fear of a potential injury, I think all of America deserves an explanation as to why Marcus Freeman is the only Buckeye that will hit the field Saturday.
Laurinaitis's loss is the gain of the three Trojan backers, and unless he shows up big time in next month's combine, it will one event that he will regret.
This is part of The Sporting Globe.