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Bradley Chubb might sit out NC State’s bowl game, and that’s fine

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NCAA Football: North Carolina at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Chubb is an all-time NC State great, and he is also going to be a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, most likely. Chubb hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll play in NC State’s bowl game, and if he decides not to play, I don’t want to hear any bellyaching over it.

This is a growing trend among players who are obvious NFL Draft picks: you might remember, for example, that Christian McCaffrey decided to sit out Stanford’s bowl game last year. McCaffrey ended up getting selected eighth in the draft by the Carolina Panthers. There was no need for him to risk injury and therefore his draft stock. Everybody knew he’d be an early pick if he were fully healthy.

The same is true for Chubb, and listen, I want to see Bradley Chubb play for NC State one more time; who wouldn’t? But Chubb doesn’t owe anything to us, and he’s done enough. Chubb has been schemed around for two years, he’s taken a beating as a defensive lineman, and he’s played hard throughout his career.

Remember this, too: Chubb came back almost immediately from a dislocated finger against Boston College. I mean, if that’s me, I’m finished for a week or so just to get over the mental stress of seeing my finger all out of whack. Football takes its toll, but that’s never prevented Chubb from playing when it counted for NC State.

This is not about toughness, and it is not about loyalty—this is about protecting your future. Chubb plays a game that is demonstrably bad for a human being’s long-term mental and physical health. If he wants to take a break from playing for free so that he can go finally get paid for this, that’s his business, and it’s probably the right choice, too.

As fans we want to see our team win a bowl game because winning beats losing and ending the football season on a high note helps us get through the long offseason. And we want to think that the players involved are as invested in the team as we are. These games don’t matter in the grand scheme, though.

And anyway, being invested and sitting out a bowl game are not mutually exclusive concepts. Chubb’s done enough, man. He was here every day for the downs that counted, and he almost propelled this NC State group to the ACC title game. State was not far off, and it wouldn’t have been close without him this season. That’s enough.

He’s done his part. I’d love to see him suit up one more time, but if he chooses not to, I will totally understand. I just hope everybody else will too.