Trevor Lawrence doesn’t owe anyone anything for being honest about himself.
On Saturday, the future number one overall pick decided to clarify comments made in a Sports Illustrated story that caused many to question Lawrence’s desire to be great.
“It’s not like I need this for my life to be OK,” he told Michael Rosenberg of SI.com. “I want to do it because I want to be the best I can be. I want to maximize my potential. Who wouldn’t want to? You kind of waste it if you don’t.”
“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,” Lawrence said. “I just don’t have that. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to. ... I think that’s unhealthy to a certain extent, just always thinking that you’ve got to prove somebody wrong, you’ve got to do more, you’ve got to be better.”
Lawrence’s father added: “He’s not award-driven. He’s not, ‘I want to win a Super Bowl at all costs.’” His high school coach said, “With who he is as a person, he could walk away from it tomorrow and be fine.”
The comments themselves were much ado about nothing. Lawrence was just explaining his thought process on how he views success, and how he will process things mentally throughout his career. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a young man who’s had so much success not be focused on accolades. Lawrence understands that football is just something that he does and not who he is. It’s a lesson many young athletes need to learn before basing their self-worth on championships, media awards, and contract bonuses.
Hopefully, Lawrence being honest about his outlook will allow a younger generation of both players and fans to finally realize that athletes must take care of themselves as human beings first. And whatever philosophy helps you become the best person you can be — not just the best player — you must hold on to that.
Many believe that if other quarterbacks in this class like Justin Fields or Trey Lance would have made these comments, it would have significantly impacted their draft stock. Obviously, Fields and Lance are both Black and we have years of history to support racist draft narratives surrounding Black quarterbacks, so questioning their desire would have been messed up, but not out of the ordinary.
The bottom line is that we need to stop trying to fit all athletes into this same unhealthy mentality that we’ve been accustomed to for years. Lawrence is different from the traditional mold, he has a fresh take on his sports-life balance. He shouldn’t have to explain himself like he did something wrong. He should be praised for having a healthy outlook on life.