Pierce makes right decision by electing to enter NFL draft

Bernard Pierce will enter the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

No one should be surprised that Temple running back Bernard Pierce will declare for the NFL draft.

His desire to do so had been one of the Owls' worst-kept-secrets for some time. Sources kept saying throughout this season that the junior wouldn't return to Temple for his senior season.  Temple coach Steve Addazio even slipped up and said that Pierce's backup Matt Brown would be the Mid-American Conference's best running back next season.

But Thursday night, Pierce finally made what everyone expected official. He told the Associated Press of his decision to forego his senior season and apply for the draft.

"I've done what I could do for the team," he said. "I broke every record at the school and I would go back to basically have a better season. I'm ready to start a new area in my life, and I have to take care of myself and family."

Though he'll be hard-pressed to get drafted higher than the third round, Pierce made the right decision.

The Owls will lose four starters on the offensive line and their top two tight ends. So there's no guarantee the 6-foot, 220-pounder would have a stellar season behind an inexperienced line. And there's also no guarantee that the injury-prone tailback would remain healthy.

Pierce missed at least one game in each of his three seasons due to injuries.

But while healthy, he was the MAC's most explosive player.

The three-year starter ranks second on Temple's all-time rushing list with 3,570 yards. His 54 touchdowns, 53 of them on the ground, and 324 points score are career records at Temple.

Pierce rushed for 1,481 yards this season despite missing one game with a concussion, playing two others with a hamstring injury and being taken out in the third quarter of a number of games because Temple had huge leads. His 27 touchdowns is a single-season school record.

Pierce has nothing more to prove in college. He had to move on.