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Michigan was without one of its most important players against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Moments before kickoff, it was announced via ESPN’s broadcast that Wolverines linebacker Jabrill Peppers was out for the game, due to a hamstring injury.

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Here you can see him before the game, favoring his left leg during warmups.


According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, some NFL teams are concerned with Peppers’ level of commitment. Via Pro Football Talk:

Adam Schefter reported today on ESPN that there are teams with concerns that Peppers didn’t play in his bowl game. Those teams apparently worry that by sitting out Michigan’s Orange Bowl contest against Florida State, he showed a lack of commitment to his team.

ESPN’s Steve Levy added that it was Peppers’ left hamstring. He sustained it earlier in the week during practice, per multiple reports.

He remained in the stadium for the game, but he watched from a booth.


Just saw Michigan"s Jabrill Peppers head into a media booth/box. He is still in the building. #FSU #CapitalOneOrangeBowl pic.twitter.com/ONYtQVMWq3

— Andrew Miller (
Andrew_Miller36) December 31, 2016

The loss for Peppers was a blow for Michigan on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Without him, the Wolverines ended up losing to Florida State 33-32.

Peppers was visibly emotional after the game, and explained the decision to sit out to reporters.

"It was a joint decision," he said via the Detroit Free Press. "The trainers watched me warm up. I knew I wasn"t myself, I knew I wasn"t going to be myself ... If the game was Saturday (instead), I play in this game 100%. I felt as though I just needed that extra day. When you tweak something like a hamstring the day before the game, it""s kind of tough to recover from."

"It couldn"t open up," he said. "I didn"t want to risk further injury or hurt the team."

He added that his NFL future had nothing to do with his decision to not play.

"I couldn"t care less about what people think why I didn"t play. The fact that I couldn"t be out there with my brothers, I think that hurt more than the loss. ... My future didn"t play any role in this."

Peppers finished the 2016 season as a Heisman Finalist after putting up unique numbers during the regular season.

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But the thing about Peppers isn’t performance at any one spot. It’s his versatility, like how he’s played as a linebacker, a safety, a cornerback, a wildcat quarterback, a running back, a receiver, a kick returner, and a punt returner. He’s got one interception, three sacks, and 66 tackles, plus 170 yards of offense and four touchdowns between offense and special teams.