TALLAHASSEE -- One day after his coach, Jimbo Fisher, told reporters Florida State's best juniors would be wrong to start peeking at potentially looming dates with NFL Draft destiny, Seminoles junior defensive end Bjoern Werner indicated that his mind was fully focused on the blue- and orange-clad team from Gainesville.
Draft? What draft? Such a thing doesn't currently exist in Werner's psyche.
FSU plays Florida at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
"I'm just going to finish the season and think about it after the season," Werner said late Tuesday evening. "If I start thinking too early about it, it's going to mess up my game."
Almost verbatim, that's essentially the same thing Fisher said when he spoke into the news cameras and notepads and voice recorders before him a day earlier.
But Werner took it a couple of steps further.
"Now that we have the big games -- Florida, the ACC Championship and then hopefully we get to play in the Orange Bowl -- I can't think about that stuff. It's going to hurt me," said the defensive end, who was rated as high as No. 3 overall on ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay's early projections.
Part of the decision for a talented All-ACC standout like Werner to forgo his final season of eligibility hinges on the unknown. Specifically, it hinges upon the circumstances like injuries and the like that extend outside of his control, and fall in the hands of fate.
Last January, as he was debating whether or not to return for his senior season, fellow FSU defensive end Brandon Jenkins had to juggle that thought along with many others as he weighed his options. In the end, Jenkins believed the injury risk wasn't enough to deter him from playing one final season in Tallahassee.
During FSU's season opener this year, though, he did suffer a serious injury. Spraining the Lisfranc joint at the top of his left foot, Jenkins was scratched from the Seminoles' lineup and done for the year. He decided just this week to forego obtaining a medical redshirt for the year, coming back for a fifth season, and instead entered into the NFL Draft process.
Werner knows the injury risk is one he'll have to factor into his own decision.
"Brandon knew that last year, too," Werner said. "So every year, you can get injured. With him, it was like the worst timing ever. You know what I'm saying? It was the worst-case scenario."
Jenkins' situation opened Werner's eyes up to an old sports adage that he said is less cliche than it might originally sound.
"After what happened to Brandon, I knew that every game could be your last," Werner said. "Coaches always say that, people always say that, but stuff like that made me realize it. That stuck with me because I was really close to Brandon and I see what he's had to go through. That hurts. And I know I have to play every game, every snap. Maybe that happens to me, too, you know?"
So when Werner steps foot onto Bobby Bowden Field inside Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday during the Seminoles' home finale against their rival Gators, he'll approach it the same way he says he always has and always will.
"Every opportunity I get on this field I'll be happy and use it maybe as my last chance," Werner said.