In the latest edition of "everybody obsesses over something that doesn't mean anything," Trevor Lawrence had to take to Twitter today to explain comments he made in a Sports Illustrated feature released this week.
In the interview, Lawrence explained he doesn't have the classic "chip on his shoulder," the favorite turn of phrase for any athlete attempting to explain they're motivated by doubters and haters of all shapes and sizes. It's also a favored figure of speech in sports media, a compliment given to athletes who seem driven to prove everyone wrong above all else. That isn't why Lawrence wants to be great, as he told SI:
"“It’s hard to explain that because I want people to know that I’m passionate about what I do and it’s really important to me, but . . . I don’t have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone’s out to get me and I’m trying to prove everybody wrong,” he says. “I just don’t have that. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to.”"
This is exactly the type of innocuous quote that gets picked over by draft analysts for weeks at a time. ESPN dedicated two separate segments on yesterday's shows to discussing it. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debated it for over ten minutes on Undisputed. Colin Cowherd talked about it. Some believed this was a bad sign for how competitive Lawrence is; others appreciated the honesty and recognized that someone like Lawrence, touted as a top NFL prospect since before he could drive, doesn't need to be driven by nonexistent doubts to be a good player.
It doesn't matter which side is right because there isn't a right side to fall on. There is no correct way to motivate oneself to succeed, no matter the profession. Results are the only thing that matters. The noise around Lawrence's lack of chip on his shoulder got loud enough, though, that Lawrence had to say something about it.
We did it, everyone. We dragged out a storyline so far the player in the middle of it had to clarify that he loves football despite a lack of desire to shove everyone's doubts in their faces.
Such is the nature of NFL draft season, I guess. We the fans don't have anything new to talk about so we collectively pound narratives to dust until we can't squeeze anything more out of it. The Jaguars can at least assure themselves they're drafting quite a level-headed 21-year-old.