By Leo Haggerty


I will freely admit to the following postulate.  When college football analyst Paul Finebaum makes a comment, I normally do not even take it with a grain of salt.

With that being said, I must give “The Man in Black” credit where credit is due. This Friday, while I was in Dallas doing our first Sports International Football Camp in almost two years, he made a few prolific statements that made me sit up and take notice.

While appearing on a segment of Get Up on ESPN, host Mike Greenberg brought up a Sports Illustrated interview with Trevor Lawrence who is considered to be the presumptive overall #1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.  The Clemson star was quoted as saying that “I want people to know that I’m passionate about what I do and it’s really important to me.  But, I don’t have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone is out to get me and I’m trying to prove everybody wrong.  I just don’t have that.  I can’t manufacture that.  I don’t want to.”

When asked to comment on whether the statement will hurt Lawrence’s draft status, Finebaum responded, “I don’t think the quotes make a bit of difference, Greenie, for this reason.  Look at what he’s done on the field.  He’s been in the playoffs every year and played twice for a National Championship and won it his first time out.  So what difference does it make and I say this a former newspaper reporter.  What difference does it make what he says to a reporter?  Trevor Lawrence knows what he’s all about and he’s already proved that and he will prove it again next season.”

When another member of the panel, former New York Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, suggested that some NFL GMs may have consternations and sleepless nights as to the possibility that Lawrence will walk away in the prime of his career as former Colts QB Andrew Luck did before the 2019 season.  The Southeastern Conference guru brushed off that proposition by bluntly stating, “I just want to say one more thing, Mike, and here’s what I’m willing to bet.  Trevor Lawrence is in the NFL longer than those GMs you just heard about are losing sleep at night.”

Finally, Finebaum gave some personal insight into what many people believed as it applies to the interviewing of athletes when he said, “Remember, and I’ve been on the other side of these interviews, athletes don’t tell the media very much anymore.  It’s a game with them.  It’s like the conversation I had yesterday with Mac Jones.  He was playing to an audience way beyond me.  He was talking to his head coach, Nick Sabin, and to NFL coaches around the league.  Trevor Lawrence toyed with this reporter and I don’t mean that disrespectfully but Trevor been doing this ever since we first of him back in Lawrenceville, Georgia.”

At the conclusion of the segment and before I could even utter a word, my wife turned to me and said emphatically, “That’s the first time I heard Paul Finebaum say some that was 100% correct.” Barb, I couldn’t agree with you more.

So, I tip my hat to you, oh sage of the SEC.  Your analysis was spot on and, hopefully, people will realize that the ONLY thing that matters is what happens between the white lines in the fall on collegiate campuses nationwide.

We both agree that what is said by players as well as what occurs at the Pro Days and Combines are window dressing.  If you don’t see it on tape then anything else doesn’t matter.

What a second.  Did I just agree with Paul Finebaum?  I guess miracles really do never cease.  Stay safe everyone!