LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson decided to pay it forward.
That’s at least what he said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis when asked about a wad of cash that Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gave him shortly after LSU beat Clemson to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
“We had some doubts about it,’’ Jefferson said of taking the money, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We know we shouldn’t have done it.’’
According to Jefferson, however, it went to a good cause. He said later that he donated the money Beckham gave him to his local church.
Beckham played for the Tigers from 2011-13 and caught 143 passes for 2,340 yards with 12 touchdowns in his three seasons there. Multiple video and still images showed Beckham, who was on the sidelines for the national title game and then was invited into the postgame locker room to celebrate LSU's victory, handing out cash to several players.
LSU officials initially said they believed the money to be fake, but they later launched an investigation into the matter and discovered that “apparent cash may have also been given” to players.
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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who also is at the combine as he prepares for the NFL draft, later said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast that the money Beckham was handing out was indeed real.
Since Jefferson is no longer a student-athlete, he's not under any NCAA regulations that would require him to decline the gift. The LSU program, however, could potentially face penalties if the NCAA deemed it to be in violation of rules concerning gifts to student-athletes.
Jefferson is considered to be a top prospect in what is a very deep wide receiver class and caught 111 passes this season for 1,540 yards with 18 touchdowns.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.
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