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Eli Drinkwitz doesn’t regret sending players home for Christmas

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Drinkwitz on player travel: “I’ll live with that choice”

Of course, you all know by now — and if you don’t, hello welcome to Rock M Nation, the world’s best free source of Mizzou news and analysis! — Missouri won’t be playing in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl. In fact, no one will, as the bowl was called off shortly after the Tigers backed out due to COVID-19 issues within the program.

After the reports surfaced, many people wondered if the decision to let players travel for the holidays played into the uptick in COVID cases. That’s a natural inclination. However, more reports began to trickle down that the Mississippi State game may have been the root cause of the outbreak.

Regardless, when Eli Drinkwitz and Jim Sterk spoke to the media yesterday afternoon, Eli Drinkwitz said he didn’t regret the decision to allow players to travel... even if it led to more positive tests.

“We allowed our team to travel home for the holidays after an extremely long season, which we started July 26 and played a game all the way up until December 19 and felt like it was in the best interest of our players’ mental health to travel home,” [Drinkwitz] said. “We didn’t feel like it was a risk...

“I don’t think we could have done anything differently or weigh the options of players’ mental health any differently. We chose what to do. I chose what to do.

“If allowing our players who sacrificed so much throughout this season to play 10 games … if allowing them to go home for Christmas ultimately cost us the ability to play in a bowl game I’ll live with that choice.”

As someone who has been incredibly concerned about player well-being since they announced that the season would be played, I think Drink’s reasoning here is pretty good. The players risked their health every week just to play a bunch of meaningless games and make a lot of people money. If you’re OK with them doing that but not going to spend the holidays with their family, you can kick several bricks.

It wasn’t all bad news on Sunday! After ending the 2020 season as Missouri’s unquestioned number one receiver, Keke Chism announced his plans to take advantage of the extra eligibility year and return to Columbia.

Chism will be playing his second year of Division I football after spending his first three years at Division II Angelo State

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Here’s your weekly Mizzou in the NFL recap:

— Obviously the slaughter that took place in Tampa Bay vs. Detroit turned into Mizzou QB Bowl 2020. Chase Daniel did the best with what he had, but it didn’t amount to much — 13 of 18 for 86 yards. Blaine Gabbert had a much better time with his opportunity, tossing two touchdowns and 143 yards in relief of Tom Brady.

— It wasn’t as fun of a day for Drew Lock, who struggled in the Broncos 17-16 loss to the Chargers. Lock did help the Broncos storm back from 13 points down and had a perfect pass dropped by Jerry Jeudy on the final drive that would’ve set up the winning field goal. Still, though, 264 yards with no touchdowns and two picks isn’t going to get it done.

— The Browns are down bad after losing to the Jets and squandering their best chance to lock up a playoff spot. But it’s not because of Sheldon Richardson, who led the defense with 10 tackles. Jordan Elliott chipped in too, adding two of his own.

— Charles Harris logged two tackles and the Falcons continued to Falcon at exhilarating rates in their botched upset attempt against Kansas City.

— Aldon Smith got the start, but only registered one tackle as the Cowboys moved into first place in the NFC East.