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Louisville LB James Hearns skipping TaxSlayer Bowl

Like Jaire Alexander, James Hearns will not be playing on Dec. 30.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Citing health concerns and a desire to be in as good as shape as possible to get himself ready for the NFL Draft, Louisville senior linebacker James Hearns announced Tuesday that he will not be playing in the Cardinals’ TaxSlayer Bowl game against Mississippi State on Dec. 30.

“First of all I would like to take this time out to thank my coaches at Louisville and the University of Louisville for bringing me in and allowing me to have a great career,” Hearns said on Twitter. “Also to the fans and all of cardnation I thank you for your many years of support and spirit.

“I will not be playing in the upcoming bowl game due to rehabbing my body and making sure I’m in the best shape to pursue my professional career. Again thanks for all the support over the years everyone.”

The loss of Hearns is a big blow for a Cardinal defense that was already going to be playing without junior cornerback Jaire Alexander, who also is sitting out the game to prepare for the NFL Draft. Hearns was tied for the team-lead in sacks with seven and second in tackles for loss.

Best of luck to James.