Trevor Lawrence’s words in a recent Sports Illustrated story were one of the main topics on ESPN’s “Get Up” show Thursday morning.
The former Clemson quarterback sat down for an interview with SI and, among other things, said, “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’s 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.”
ESPN’s Louis Riddick said on “Get Up” that he was surprised by Lawrence’s comments.
“I’ll be honest, it took me aback a little bit because look, I don’t know Trevor Lawrence,” Riddick said. “I’ve never talked to him, and quite honestly, I’ve never been around him. So, all we know is what everyone else has told us about his being a can’t-miss prospect and his being one of the best prospects in the past 30 years and he’s can’t-miss and this is why Urban Meyer came out of retirement because he had a can’t-miss prospect here.
“Well, I just know this. I know two things about the NFL. There are quarterbacks that are just maniacal in terms of their preparation and their commitment to the game, and they do want to win at all costs. Quite honestly, the guy who we consider the GOAT, Tom Brady, he has said if you are not willing to commit to yourself in the way that I’m willing to commit to yourself, then you’re probably going to have a problem matching up with him over time, to paraphrase. You’re probably going to be at some kind of deficit at some point in time in a football game against him because he’s someone who is maniacal in terms of making sure that he has all the answers and he is prepared as much as possible and he will do whatever it takes in order to win football games.”
“And winning at the NFL level is hard, man,” Riddick continued. “Playing quarterback at the NFL level is hard. Steve Young used to say it all the time to me on ‘Monday Night Countdown’ – it’s about the details, it’s about the preparation, it’s about the commitment, and you better be committed on that level.”
Riddick added that he believes if former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields had said what Lawrence did, “this would be more than a number one story … this would be absolute wildfire right now, and that’s just a fact.”
“Remember, now, people were questioning Justin Fields,” Riddick said. “People were questioning Justin Fields, and he hasn’t even said a word. People were questioning just how committed he was and whether he was going to be one of those guys that was going to put in the time to be great. If Justin Fields had said this kind of thing, what do you think we’d be talking about here this morning? So, I’m just going to put that out there, and I’m not questioning Trevor Lawrence – I’m just saying, though.”
ESPN’s Booger McFarland weighed in on Lawrence’s comments, as well, saying he too was surprised by what Lawrence said but is giving him the benefit of the doubt because of his track record and the success he had at Clemson.
“I think the reason it took a lot of us aback is because it goes against conventional wisdom, right,” McFarland said. “We want our quarterback to be the first in, last out, willing to die for it all, and I truly understand. But I also have to make myself think that this is a new age. When you’re dealing with this young crew, these millennials, they talk different. They do different things. So, what can we rely on? I, like Louis, have never been Trevor Lawrence. I don’t know him. But I know two things – I’ve listened to Dabo Swinney talk about him, I’ve listened to Dabo talk about his commitment, and I turn the tape on and watch what he’s done on the field.
“He’s lost two games as a starter. He came in as a freshman and he played against some of the best competition alive. So, when we look at him as a generational talent, as a can’t-miss quarterback, we look at the physical traits, we look at the dedication and how you play and how you win, that speaks volumes. I’m not going to hold this kid accountable just because he talks differently or he says things differently or he doesn’t say the stereotypical thing that we want all our superstars to say.”
“Get Up” host Mike Greenberg pointed out that unlike Tom Brady, it’s impossible for Lawrence to have a chip on his shoulder given his pedigree and longtime status as a can’t-miss, generational-type prospect.
“Trevor Lawrence is talking about not having a chip on his shoulder,” Greenberg said. “Tom Brady was the 199th pick in the draft. That’s how you get a chip on your shoulder. Trevor Lawrence has been the anointed one since he was a sophomore in high school. So, the entire narrative on him has been he’s the best ever from the time he was 15 years old. There’s no way to get a chip on your shoulder when all anyone has been doing is telling you how great you are.”
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