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ESPN’s Todd McShay is slammed by Ohio State star Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s family over ‘injury’ report

ESPN’s Todd McShay is facing criticism from Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s family for suggesting the NFL prospect was putting his professional aspirations above the Buckeyes’ upcoming College Football Playoff semifinal game against top-ranked Georgia.

Smith-Njigba announced earlier this week that he would not play in the all-important game against the Bulldogs on December 31 while he continues to rehabilitate a leg injury and prepare for the 2023 NFL draft. The AP Preseason All-American was hurt in the Buckeyes’ opener against Notre Dame and played in just two other games. Details on the seriousness of his injury weren’t disclosed through the season.

On Monday, McShay claimed NFL scouts told him that Smith-Njigba is ‘healthy enough to play and he’s protecting himself for the draft,’ only to be rebuked by the receiver’s family, including older brother Canaan, a Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder.

ESPN’s Todd McShay is facing criticism from Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s family for suggesting the NFL prospect was putting his professional aspirations above the Buckeyes’ upcoming College Football Playoff semifinal game against top-ranked Georgia

Smith-Njigba announced earlier this week that he would not play in the all-important game against the Bulldogs on December 31 while he continues to rehabilitate a leg injury and prepare for the 2023 NFL draft. The AP Preseason All-American was hurt in the Buckeyes' opener against Notre Dame and played in just two other games. Details on the seriousness of his injury weren't disclosed through the season

Smith-Njigba announced earlier this week that he would not play in the all-important game against the Bulldogs on December 31 while he continues to rehabilitate a leg injury and prepare for the 2023 NFL draft. The AP Preseason All-American was hurt in the Buckeyes’ opener against Notre Dame and played in just two other games. Details on the seriousness of his injury weren’t disclosed through the season

‘If he was healthy he would be playing,’ Canaan tweeted. ‘Like what?? We not protecting our ‘Draft stock’ they know who JSN is when healthy. You sorry @McShay13 and so wrong to be on tv making these false claims.’

Smith-Njigba’s father, Maada, also weighed in: ‘Being [with] my son yesterday for his first day of rehab and seeing his limitations for myself gave me peace [with] our families (sic) choice to get my son healthy. Encouraging him [to] play would be selfish and abusive. I’m at peace [because] I know he’s in the right hands [for] recovery.’

McShay didn’t only report NFL scouts’ believes that Smith-Njigba is healthy, but went on to say that league teams look down on players who skip bowl games to preserve their draft stock.

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba (pictured) is the older brother of Jaxon

Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba (pictured) is the older brother of Jaxon 

Pirates center fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba ripped the ESPN Draft insider over the report

Pirates center fielder Canaan Smith-Njigba ripped the ESPN Draft insider over the report

Smith-Njigba's father, Maada, also weighed in, defending the family's decision

Smith-Njigba’s father, Maada, also weighed in, defending the family’s decision 

‘I’ve got news for every prospect out there: NFL teams know,’ McShay said Monday. ‘They know what you had for lunch last Thursday. They are going to know if you are healthy or not. And if you are healthy enough to play, you need to be out there with your teammates and play.

‘I’m not saying it’s going to hurt his draft stock… but the difference is with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, he is like a late-first, early-second rounder. He’s a great college player, great slot receiver. But he has some drops, doesn’t have exceptional size, doesn’t have exceptional speed. There were some things coming into the year, after the great season he had, scouts were pointing to that said, ‘I don’t think he’s a lock to go top-15, top-20.’

‘Now the fact that he’s not playing certainly isn’t going to help those odds.’

Smith-Njigba announced his decision to enter the NFL draft earlier Monday, stressing that he tried to play, but wasn’t healthy enough.

‘I did everything possible to put myself in a position to get back on the field multiple times this year,’ Smith-Njigba wrote. ‘I wanted it as much, if not more than anyone else. After consulting with my doctors, it has been determined that I will not be able to participate in the playoffs.’

Smith-Njigba set an all-time bowl game record with 347 receiving yards in the 2022 Rose Bowl win over Utah. He also broke the Rose Bowl record with 15 receptions and tied the game record with three touchdowns

Smith-Njigba set an all-time bowl game record with 347 receiving yards in the 2022 Rose Bowl win over Utah. He also broke the Rose Bowl record with 15 receptions and tied the game record with three touchdowns

Ohio State coach Ryan Day did not criticize Smith- Njigba for his decision to sit out the playoff game.

‘I want to thank Jaxon for all he has done for our Ohio State program,’ Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. ‘He has had such a major impact here in Columbus, on and off the field, in a relatively short period of time. We all know he has a very bright future ahead of him and we all support him as he moves forward with his career.’

The Buckeyes play Georgia in a CPF semifinal in the Peach Bowl on December 31. Receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. (1,157 yards, 12 TDs) and Emeka Egbuka (1,039 yards, nine touchdowns) assumed larger roles in the passing game with Smith-Njigba sidelined.

The junior from Rockwall, Texas, set school records in 2021 for receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,606). His yardage total broke a 20-year-old Big Ten Conference record.

Smith-Njigba set an all-time bowl game record with 347 receiving yards in the 2022 Rose Bowl win over Utah. He also broke the Rose Bowl record with 15 receptions and tied the game record with three touchdowns.

Smith-Njigba announced his decision to enter the NFL draft earlier Monday, stressing that he tried to play, but wasn't healthy enough

Smith-Njigba announced his decision to enter the NFL draft earlier Monday, stressing that he tried to play, but wasn’t healthy enough

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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