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Why it’s understandable Maurice Hurst may not play in Outback Bowl

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To play or not to play? That is the question.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

It’s been an absolute pleasure seeing defensive lineman Maurice Hurst play in person. The size, strength, and speed of the big man is impressive nearly every snap he is on the field. Hurst has represented what is good about the game of football, both on and off the field. A great player and great student for the University of Michigan.

Time goes by fast, and Hurst’s last down may have already been played, as he’s debating on sitting out the Outback Bowl.

There’s a lot of money on the line for Hurst, who will surely rise up the draft boards in the months to come, a player who has Aaron Donald type upside at the next level. Is playing in the Outback Bowl worth risking an injury? Michigan tight end Jake Butt took the valiant approach of playing in the Orange Bowl last season and tore his ACL, his draft stock plummeted, and he’s still working his way back from the injury.

On the flip side, is it worth Hurst playing with his brothers in arms one last time? If he believes so and feels in his heart that’s what he would like to do.

This is a situation where there is no wrong answer. We know Hurst has nothing left to prove, he’s done all that could ever be asked of him. Now is the time where whatever Hurst decides should be respected. Of course, everyone would like to see him maul some South Carolina offensive linemen, but that happening sounds 50/50 at best.

Playing or not playing is a big decision, if it wasn’t Hurst would have announced his decision today when the question was posed to him. Hurst obviously cares about the Wolverines football team enough, and cares about the prospect of injuring himself enough to take more time for his decision.

If Hurst doesn’t play he will end the season with 58 tackles (26 solo), 13 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch him play on Sunday afternoons in 2018.