Linebacker Myles Jack, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, said Thursday he decided to leave UCLA and enter the 2016 NFL draft because he wants to be compensated for his skills.
"When you see people making money off of your likeness and your name ... nobody else wears No. 30 at UCLA. That jersey is mine," Jack told ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike on Thursday morning. "I would like to receive compensation for what I've done. That's definitely something you're thinking about. I took all of that into consideration.
"I felt like it was time. I felt like I had done enough at UCLA, and I felt like this was my chance. This was my shot. Why not go for it? And really just focus on football. Focus on myself. Focus on my body. And just really get that knee back so I can get back 1,000 percent. That's my goal."
Jack, who projected to be a first-round draft pick before the season, tore a ligament in his knee at practice two weeks ago.
"I felt like I had done enough at UCLA," Jack told Mike & Mike. "I felt like I had done it. In regards to my injury, I wanted to have the best training possible and put myself in the best position to be ready for the combine. That's pretty much where I was at. I wanted to make the right decision. And it was definitely a tough one. If it was up to me, I'd be out there playing right now."
UCLA coach Jim Mora on Tuesday called Jack's decision "risky" and said there would be a lot of "speculation as to what he is and where he fits" at the next level.
But Jack said Thursday that he has since spoken to Mora and the two are on the same page.
"When the comments came out, I was definitely surprised," Jack said. "But I talked to him [Wednesday] afternoon and we ironed out any wrinkles or any misunderstandings that we had. ... Me and him are cool. We definitely patched things up if there are any misunderstandings. He reiterated that he supports me 1,000 percent."
The dynamic Jack played multiple positions during his time at UCLA, including inside and outside linebacker, safety and cornerback. But he turned heads nationally when UCLA started using him as a situational running back in 2013, as he carried 38 times for 267 yards and seven touchdowns.
Despite the attention he received for his play on offense, Jack said his heart was always on the defensive side of the ball, where he totaled 178 tackles with 15 for a loss and four interceptions in his career.
Jack told ESPN in the spring that he would wait until after the season before making a decision concerning the NFL.
"I was definitely going to weigh my options," Jack told Mike & Mike on Thursday. "I wasn't 100 percent all the way out. I was focused on the season. I wasn't thinking about this at all. My mindset was helping the Bruins win a national championship. That's where I was at.
"When all this came about and I injured myself, I really had to think about my future moving forward with either college football or the NFL."