Thanks, slycanyon, for the inspiration to do a little digging...
“In any case, we believe underclassmen should always stay in school and fulfill their eligibility. History shows that underclassmen that stay in school tend to do better as NFL players, especially quarterbacks—Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco all played four years of college football. And, there is a long list of college players who came out early and did not do well in the NFL.”
The commissioner acknowledged that “every case is different. Nobody knows the future but I’d point out that there are very few career-ending injuries in this era. The more exposure these players get from big-time college football, to display and refine their skills, is a significant benefit. And, really just their development as men and more exposure in their own college education is part of that maturity process that gives them a better chance for a longer, more productive career.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
The NFL makes no secret of its position on the matter. The league sends a pamphlet to underclassmen considering the draft titled “Stay in School.”
“It’s a sensitive topic,” said Floyd Reese, general manager of the Tennessee Titans. “If you talk to most pro personnel people, they would rather have the players stay in to get the extra year of maturity.”
Even agent (Leigh) Steinberg said, “Virtually any player will benefit from another year in school.”
Personnel directors want to see athletes get bigger and more experienced. They want an extra year to scout before making that million-dollar draft choice.
Lofa Tatupu heard no shortage of opinions when he was considering an early departure from USC last spring.
Teammates supported the linebacker, but nearly everyone else advised him to wait, saying that he would go in the fourth or fifth round, that he could play his way up to a more lucrative spot with another year of college. (Pete)Carroll, who has been forceful about players staying in school, echoed this message.
“He was just being real with me,” Tatupu said. “He told me what he had heard. He told me, as a man, how he felt personally.”
Tatupu ultimately decided to turn pro to help his family. He realizes this decision might have cost him millions.
Selected in the second round, higher than predicted, he received less than $2 million guaranteed. Some NFL experts believe that had he played his senior season, he would have been a first-round selection and earned twice as much.
Tatupu might squeeze another NFL year into his shelf life as a player, which could mean an extra contract renegotiation down the line. But, as (Gil) Brandt points out, underclassmen drafted down the board probably won’t recoup the guaranteed money they might have lost by coming out early.
The LA Times
Michael, maybe you should re-think this...