CJ Stroud isn’t a fan of some of the comments he’s seen directed at teammates in 2022. He responded and defended Jaxon Smith-Njigba during Wednesday’s press conference.

Smith-Njigba’s time at Ohio State is unfortunately over after a limited role in 2022. An early injury in the season opener against Notre Dame has kept Smith-Njigba sidelined, and he recently announced he would miss the College Football Playoff and is declaring for the NFL Draft.

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A rumor has spread that Smith-Njigba is healthy enough to play but is merely sitting to protect his stock for the draft. Stroud said the situation “sucks” and it is “crazy” the kind of things people are saying about the star receiver.

Stroud went on to say people do not have any idea the extent of what Smith-Njigba has been through and questioned people who would say such things “about my brother.”

“It’s sad that we really put our lives on the line and our body’s on the line and our mental,” Stroud said. “I‘m not saying that people in other careers don’t, but people judge us so much because we have a scoreboard. A result that people can go look up online. That makes it tough.

“Look at Jaxon, the last game he really played was the Rose Bowl, where had 300-something yards, three touchdowns and people look at that as the standard. That’s the expectation for every game. How do you live up to something like that every day? And he has. It’s bittersweet. I know people were talking about how he should play. Y’all have no idea the stuff he’s been through this year. No clue. Who are people to talk about my brother like that? It gets me a little angry that people try to make it seem like he’s not a team player and he doesn’t care about his teammates.”

As for the Playoff, the pressure is on for Stroud and the Buckeyes as the team will be without both Smith-Njigb and star running back TreVeyon Henderson due to injury.

(H/T Cleveland.com)