University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban on Tuesday hailed Jaylen Waddle’s “mental toughness” in playing during the previous night’s national championship game on an ankle he had fractured less than three months ago.
But some NFL stars had other words for Alabama and its wide receiver, obviously hobbled during the Crimson Tide’s 52-24 victory over Ohio State. Superstar Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led a chorus on Twitter exhorting the team to remove Waddle from the game so he didn’t risk his NFL future.
Waddle caught three passes for 34 yards, and his tender ankle was apparent from his first reception. He limped as he tried to slow down out of bounds.
The fleet pass-catcher is considered a first-round draft prospect.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones praised Waddle for putting “his career and body on the line to help us out and help us to win a game,” AL.com reported.
Mahomes begged to differ. “But you can’t let that man be out there!” he tweeted.
Many pros wondered if the risk was worth the reward.