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Former Ohio State Star James Laurinaitis Comments On Denzel Ward's Cotton Bowl Decision

James Laurinaitis celebrates his Gold Pants.

James Laurinaitis/Twitter.

Former Ohio State star James Laurinaitis is a bit miffed on Denzel Ward's decision.

Minutes before Ohio State took the field against USC in the Cotton Bowl Friday night, junior cornerback Denzel Ward tweeted that he wouldn't be playing - essentially declaring for the NFL Draft in the process. Ward said that while he had conversations with his coaches about it "well before the game" he wanted to be with the team through the process of the bowl game anyway.

That fact has former Ohio State star James Laurinaitis a bit confused. Laurinaitis tweeted that while he understands why Ward didn't want to play, he doesn't understand why he practiced. He says that Ward could have gotten hurt in practice too.

Here's what Ward's tweet read, for reference:

“To my family, friends and buckeye nation I will not be participating in the cotton bowl. This was a very difficult decision that I ultimately had to make. But at the end of the day I feel this is the best decision for my family and I. I had countless conversations with my coaches about this decision well before the game. Though I was deciding not to participate in the bowl game I did not want to leave my teammates and coaches to pursue my dream just yet.

I wanted to continue to be apart of the team and support my team in anyway possible. From helping the development of the young corners to still being around my teammates and building on the relationships that would not have been possible without The Ohio State. I appreciate all of the love and support from my coaches and teammates throughout this process. And thank you Buckeye nation you guys have made my experience here at Ohio State one to remember. I hope everyone can respect my decision and continue to show support.”

Regardless, Ohio State's defense has held up very well in Ward's absence. The Buckeyes currently lead USC 24-7 with nine minutes to play.