In 2012, when he was a stud running back at South Carolina, Marcus Lattimore was a projected first-round NFL draft choice and assumed future star. Just two years later, at just 23, Lattimore he has been forced to retire.
A horrific knee injury suffered against Tennessee—multiple ligaments were shredded—put his pro career in jeopardy. But the San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the hope that he would overcome the major setback.
Lattimore tried. But he injury was “insurmountable,” he sad. He never got to carry the ball in an NFL regular-season game. Disappointed? Yes. Depressed? No way.
The former South Carolina star, who will collect $1.7-million from an insurance policy, said he plans to speak to youth about overcoming life setbacks. At the same time, he said he will go back to South Carolina to earn his bachelor’s degree.
Here is part of his eloquent statement in announcing his retirement:
“After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it’s time to end my professional football career. I have given my heart and soul to the game that I love, and it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life and help others.
“I have given every ounce of my energy toward making a full recovery from my knee injury, and I have made a lot of progress. Unfortunately, getting my knee fully back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable.
“I am grateful for the entire 49ers organization. Their decision to draft me was the realization of a lifelong dream to be an NFL player, and I cannot thank them enough for believing in me and for doing everything in their power to assist in my recovery. I will always be a 49er!
“Though I am proud of what I have accomplished throughout my football career, I am sincerely disappointed that it must end, but I trust that God has a great plan for my future. As for what’s next, I will be returning to the University of South Carolina to complete my degree. I cannot say enough about the support from the Gamecock family since the first day I stepped on campus until now. I am so proud to be a part of the USC family, and I promise to always represent the garnet and black with honor and integrity. I will also continue to work with my foundation, the Marcus Lattimore Foundation / DREAMS, to provide opportunities and platforms to benefit youth sports programs in the state of South Carolina. I am looking forward to pursuing my personal interests and helping others achieve their goals and dreams.”