NFL stars such as Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Ramsey slammed Alabama University’s medical staff and coaches for allowing Jaylen Waddle to play in the National Championship game Monday. They were livid after Waddle, who was playing on a surgically repaired ankle, limped on and off the field during the blowout 52-24 Alabama win.
Waddle broke his ankle in a game against Tennessee in October. Though after surgery and months of rehab, Alabama doctors cleared him to play Monday against Ohio State. But after catching a pass early in the game, it was clear he wasn’t 100 percent.
Waddle is one of the most explosive wide receivers and return men in college football. He’s expected to go high in the NFL Draft this year. So, seeing him struggle and risk his future in the game was too much for many.
“Who advised 17 for Bama to play?” Rams cornerback Ramsey tweeted. “Whoever it is definitely doesn’t have his best interest at heart. As a competitor, I understand why he would want to play, but no way he should be out there with the future he has ahead.”
Moreover, a number of other NFL stars also chimed in, begging Alabama to pull the junior from the game.
“Respect the heart! But you can’t let that man be out there!,” Mahomes tweeted.
He was replying Colts linebacker Darius Leonard‘s demand that Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban to step in.
“Cmon nick don’t let Waddle do this, he’s hurt and shouldn’t be out there! Cmon bro! Sometimes you gotta protect players from themselves!” he wrote.
That’s where a lot of players came down. Saban said before the game that Waddle would decide if he’d play or not, but Waddle shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision. It’s the National Championship game and the final game of his college career, so of course he’ll want to play. But someone needed to step up and protect him from himself, they said.
Waddle finished the game with three catches for 34 yards.