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South Carolina TE Kiel Pollard Retiring From Football After Breaking Neck

Kiel Pollard playing for South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: Donell Stanley #72 and Kiel Pollard #87 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrate following a touchdown reception by Pollard during their game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. SC won 49-15. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

South Carolina senior tight end Kiel Pollard, who was projected to be a starter for the Gamecocks this season, is retiring from football. Pollard broke his neck during practice last week.

Pollard took to Instagram to announce the news. He explained that while he could continue his football career, doctors told him it was not safe to keep playing. He says that despite the bad news, he's thankful for what football has given to him.

🚨Long Post Alert🚨
Ever since I was 3 years old, my life has involved football. Last week I did something that every football player knows not to do, I ducked my head while blocking. As I waited on the exam table I thought everything was straight. 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. 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! I KNOW THAT I AM MORE THAN FOOTBALL!!! Please don't feel sorry for me because football has been good to me. 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! So with that being said one chapter ends and another begins! 87 out ✌🏾

Pollard wasn't guaranteed to be an NFL player, but if he'd had a great senior year, he might have snuck onto some draft boards. Unfortunately, he won't get that opportunity.

While it's unfortunate that his career is over, it's great to see that he's putting his health first. A broken neck is a serious injury.

Pollard, who started three games for the team a season ago, finished the year with 15 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers were expected to improve greatly in 2019.