There was quite a bit of a stir and a debate over whether or not it was right for Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney to not award a national championship ring to former Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant. But as far as the former Clemson quarterback (and now a Missouri Tiger quarterback) is concerned, there is no reason to have much fuss over it.
“A ring is a ring,” Bryant said when speaking to reporters covering the Missouri Tigers, per Peter Baugh of The Athletic. “I’m in Missouri, and I don’t play any mind to that. Everybody else can make a story about it, which it’s not really a story.”
This statement is similar in tone to the one Bryant had at SEC media days, when he was asked about not receiving a championship ring from his previous school. Bryant said at the time it was no big deal for him. More recently, this became a topic again because Swinney defended the decision in an interview with ESPN, saying you had to be on the team at the time the championship was won in order to receive a ring.
Bryant started the season as Clemson’s starter for the eventual national champions, but he was replaced as the starter by freshman Trevor Lawrence. That moved ended up working out quite well for Clemson, as Lawrence led the Tigers to a national championship a year after Bryant failed to get Clemson past Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal. Bryant was quoted as saying the benching in favor of Lawrence felt like a slap in the face at the time, and Swinney said in a conference call he did not think Bryant’s decision to transfer was the best decision to make although he respected it. Bryant left the program at the end of September 2018 and declared his intention to move to Missouri as a graduate transfer in early December.
A number of Clemson players made their way to Missouri to cheer on their former teammate at Missouri’s spring game, so there is clearly some ties between Bryant and his former program.
The bottom line is if Bryant says not getting a championship ring is no big deal, then this story can now be put to rest.