Missouri offensive lineman Mitch Morse played through the pain of a finger injury this season — he didn’t miss any games because of it — but when it came to the Senior Bowl in January, he had to make a business decision that hurt even more.
“I had to unfortunately decline an invitation to the Senior Bowl due to the fact that I had surgery late in November on my left index finger,” Morse said at the NFL Combine this week. “It wasn’t feeling 100 percent at the time.”
Morse said he made sure to explain the situation to Senior Bowl director Phil Savage.
“A very nice man, very understanding,” Morse said. “I had told him that ‘Listen, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I would not know that.’ And it was touching that he invited me and it was a blessing and it was really hard to turn down, but where I was physically I wasn’t able to participate at the level that I needed to to play with such competition at the Senior Bowl.”
Morse made up for it during his performance at the combine on Friday, however. He posted 36 reps on the bench press, a 112-inch broad jump and a 4.50 20-yard shuttle, all of which were among the top performances at his position.
Those numbers, in addition to his versatility, should boost him in some teams’ eyes.
“(Played) some tackle, some guard, some center,” Morse said. “I was fortunate enough at some point in time at all of them and play all of them at one point in time in my Mizzou career.”
Morse was a starter at center in 2012, but ultimately shined as a right tackle in 2013 and left tackle in 2014. He credits Mizzou’s top-notch pass rushers — including Michael Sam, Shane Ray, Kony Ealy and Markus Golden — for helping to develop his skills.
“It’s been a privilege my whole Mizzou career to go against guys who have played in the NFL, who are going to play in the NFL and guys who in a few years will play in the NFL,” Morse said. “You can’t put a value on that. I’ve just been fortunate to have teammates like that. We’re able to push each other in practice and it shows and it correlates to on the field.”