Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron declined to his invitation to the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl in a surprise move, and didn't even cite an injury keeping him out of the game.
"I really appreciate being invited to play in the Senior Bowl," McCarron told Randy Kennedy of AL.com. "It is quite an honor and something I've dreamed about while growing up in the Mobile area. However, at this time, I'm putting all of my focus and energy into preparing for the NFL Combine, pro day and the rest of the pre-draft evaluation process. Therefore, I won't be taking part in the Senior Bowl."
Quite frankly, McCarron's decision to turn down the all-star game is puzzling and his reason for doing so dubious at best. At least fake a high ankle sprain or something.
Often times, top senior quarterbacks who expect to be high first-round picks (see; Geno Smith) will decline to attend the Senior Bowl which makes sense. Sometimes it also blows up in their face (see; Geno Smith, again). In McCarron's case, it's just a bad decision altogether.
Many NFL teams and scouts will want to see McCarron in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation, which is what the week in Mobile, AL is. It's also a chance for McCarron to break the image of just being a game manager on a stacked football team, which is the label a lot of people have given him.
With those labels and coming off a sub-par bowl game, this doesn't seem like the wisest decision McCarron could have made leading up to the NFL Combine. Now he's going to field questions about why he declined and if he was worried about being exposed.
For a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars who are both looking for a quarterback in the upcoming draft and coaching the game, I would think it's a big red flag on the player. The Jaguars want players who are competitive and McCarron's decision feels like shying away from competition.
We'll have more on the Senior Bowl as we get closer, as well has having a few people on-site.