ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit under fire for remarks on college football players not loving the sport

Herbstreit played quarterback at Ohio State

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ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit came under fire Saturday for remarks on the state of the sport amid players opting out of bowl games.

Herbstreit appeared on "College Gameday" to preview New Year’s Day bowl games at the Rose Bowl when he made the remarks to former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard.

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Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) scrambles for yardage between Iowa defensive linemen Noah Shannon (99), Zach VanValkenburg (97) and Logan Lee (85) during the second half of the Citrus Bowl Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) scrambles for yardage between Iowa defensive linemen Noah Shannon (99), Zach VanValkenburg (97) and Logan Lee (85) during the second half of the Citrus Bowl Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

"What’s the difference as a player when saying these games are ‘meaningless’ when, Des, we played in ‘meaningless’ games," Herbstreit said. "I mean I know you guys were here a lot. I just don’t understand. If you don’t make it to the playoff, how is it meaningless to play football and compete? Isn’t that what we do as football players? We compete?

"I don’t know if changing it or expanding it is going to change anything. I really don’t. I just think this era of player just doesn’t love football."

Washington State wide receiver De'Zhaun Stribling (88) catches a pass in the end zone to score a touchdown as he's defended by Central Michigan defensive back Rolliann Sturkey (37) during the second half of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021.

Washington State wide receiver De'Zhaun Stribling (88) catches a pass in the end zone to score a touchdown as he's defended by Central Michigan defensive back Rolliann Sturkey (37) during the second half of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Howard agreed with Herbstreit and said going to a bowl game was a "huge reward for a fantastic season."

Herbstreit came under fire over his remarks. Green Bay Packers defensive back Adrian Amos and Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II were among those taking Herbstreit to task.

The former Ohio State quarterback later tried to clarify his remarks on Twitter.

Kirk Herbstreit at ESPN College Game Day during a game between the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers at Mercedes Benz Stadium Dec. 7, 2019 in Atlanta, Ga. (Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Kirk Herbstreit at ESPN College Game Day during a game between the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers at Mercedes Benz Stadium Dec. 7, 2019 in Atlanta, Ga. (Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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"Just wanted to clarify some of my comments from earlier today. Of course some players love the game the same today as ever," he wrote. "But some don’t. I’ll always love the players of this game and sorry if people thought I generalized or lumped them all into one category."