Kiel Pollard

Photo by Jim Dedmon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

South Carolina TE Kiel Pollard announces retirement following neck injury

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During a recent practice as the South Carolina Gamecocks prepare for the upcoming 2019 season, tight end Kiel Pollard injured his neck in a collision. That injury resulted in a broken neck that was originally supposed to keep Pollard out of action for four to six weeks, but a follow-up examination suggested it is no longer safe for him to continue playing football. As such, Pollard announced on his Instagram account on Friday that he is stepping away from playing football.

“To my surprise, after the MRI was completed and what felt like the longest 2 hours of my life, I was informed that I would be out for 4-6 weeks with a broken neck,” Pollard explained on his Instagram post. “I was perfectly fine with that. I felt no pain and my body was tired so I felt that rest was in order. This week that changed when I found out that last Tuesday would be my last time playing football. Not that I’m not able, but that it’s not safe for me to do so. I have loved football and always will! It was my desire to rock Willy B Stadium this year and then play in the NFL but I am aware that God has greater plans for my life!”

“Please don’t feel sorry for me because football has been good to me,” Pollard said. “Football has provided me with a great education in which I will be graduating in December this year! I am smart enough to know God doesn’t give anyone a gift that he doesn’t plan on using!”

Pollard was South Carolina’s fourth-leading receiver last season with 15 receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He was slotted to be a projected starter for the Gamecocks this season in an offense that returns Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith at wide receiver and starting quarterback Jake Bentley. Kyle Markway could be the top tight end option moving forward after appearing in 13 games last season, although as a deep bench option and with three catches for 53 yards in 2018. Freshman Travon Kenion could also get put on an accelerated path to find a role where he can contribute, although that could also still be a mild work in progress.

Pollard ends his football career with 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns.