On ESPN’s “First Take” show Friday, co-hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, as well as ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky, weighed in on the comments made by Trevor Lawrence in a Sports Illustrated story published this week.
Lawrence’s words have been the subject of much scrutiny, with the former Clemson quarterback telling SI, among other things, “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.”
Asked if the Jacksonville Jaguars should be concerned about Lawrence’s comments, with the team expected to take Lawrence No. 1 overall in this month’s NFL Draft, Kellerman replied, “You have to be concerned. I mean, you have to be concerned.”
“Now, am I scared to death? No,” he continued. “But of course, your eyebrows raise. … We can’t pretend that we don’t get a little bit alarmed when we don’t hear Tom Brady in a guy, when we don’t hear a guy, ‘I eat, sleep, I live this. Cut off my head, all you’ll find is a football. That’s all I want to do is win, win, win, win, win.’ It’s possible he could be great anyway. It’s just not normally the way it goes, and so of course I would be concerned.”
Smith disagreed with Kellerman, saying he has “very little concern” about what Lawrence said, in part because of the resume he put together at Clemson.
“His resume, he’s completed 66.6 percent of his passes,” the longtime ESPN personality said. “He’s thrown 90 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in three years. His record is 39-3. He’s a national champion. He’s been to the playoffs all three years. This dude has been electrifying for the most part, and there was a college football season last year because of him in large part, because he stood up and raised his voice and talked about the importance of these games continuing to be played.
“So, let’s not underestimate it at all. He might not be giving the media anything for bulletin board or headline material. But the reality is that he is passionate about a few things, and when he has been passionate about it, he’s expressed himself in a way that lets us know he’s not some cyborg like you would call Kawhi Leonard, Max. So, let’s take that into consideration.”
Orlovsky chimed in as well, adding that while Lawrence’s remarks caught him by surprise at first, he believes the Jaguars shouldn’t be worried about the future face of their franchise and his dedication to the game.
“Now, initially when I heard these comments, I was taken aback,” the former NFL quarterback said. “I was like, wait, ‘he said what?’ Because my thought process was like, how is he going to go be great? How can you go be great thinking that way? But something that I’ve been reminded of with my past month or so in talking with NFL general managers … the tape is everything. The tape is everything, and the tape is everything. And there is nothing on Trevor Lawrence’s tape that makes me think he’s not committed to football.”
Orlovsky also pointed out one part of the SI story that people questioning his commitment level to football or desire to be great aren’t talking about.
“I read the whole article,” Orlovsky said, “and the very end of the article says that his high school coach at Lawrenceville, Georgia, brought him in there in high school. And he said, ‘Trevor, what are your goals? You’ve got to give me a goal, you’ve got to have a goal.’ And Trevor Lawrence didn’t even look at him. He just looked off and said, ‘I want to be one of the greatest to ever do it.’ And that’s not getting talked about, right.
“So, if he’s committed to that, if that is something that is internalized for him, then there is no doubt. He’s been the guy since he was 13 years old. So, I don’t have any concerns about it, and it is potentially a different situation for him, in compared to other quarterbacks.”
Clemson Variety & Frame is doing their part to help bring you some classic new barware and help one of the local businesses that helps make Clemson special.
Order your Nick’s barware and do your part to help. #SaveNicks