Two things happened yesterday that will affect Pitt’s football season. First, consensus (or near consensus as far as I can tell) all-American Defensive Tackle Jaylen Twyman opted out for the season. Given Twyman’s history and family situation he can hardly be blamed, and I for one am proud of Pitt fans’ (and Pitt’s) response to this one. Handled with class. Here is Twyman’s statement:
I started playing football when I was six years old. I immediately fell in love with it. Football has changed my life. It has led me to places that I could only dream of [after] growing up in Lincoln Heights.
Football has brought me to Pitt and I love it so much. I love putting on that blue and gold helmet and just grinding with my brothers.
This past year has been crazy for so many people. It makes you realize you have responsibilities beyond yourself. That’s why I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL draft, and to return home to be with my family. This isn’t about COVID-19. This is about my family’s needs, now and in the future.
I want to thank Coach Narduzzi for his support in my decision. He has always believed in me. I want to thank him for giving me the chance to pursue my dreams at Pitt – and beyond Pitt.
I want to thank coach Partridge who made me a better person and player every day.
I want to thank Panther Nation for their love. I will miss running out of the Heinz Field tunnel and hearing “Thunderstruck”.
I promised my mother and Coach Narduzzi that I will finish my degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt will always be part of me.
Forever a Pitt Man!
And here is John McGonigal’s article that adds some notes around the situation in Twyman’s life. Note you may have to create a free login to PG.com if you don’t have one.
And some additional context, written four years ago:
Pat Narduzzi’s statement. Again, all class.
So long Jaylen…and best of luck in your future endeavors and we look forward to your presence around campus after you make it big in the League.
The downstream effect may not be a pleasant one:
Lets add a PAC-10 players strike to that list, localized team player strikes around the country, and well, I’d say that the odds are not exactly in our favor.
Pitt wants to play football, and without knowing the details, I’d be willing to bet that we have some of the most robust safety protocols in the country. We’ve got a dedicated group of players and coaches that just want to play football.
He’s not the only one.
Here’s to hoping the ACC can figure it out, keep everyone safe, and give everybody a reason to look forward to the fall.
Hail to Pitt