Linebacker Finished With Football

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn inside linebacker <b>Phillip Pate</b> is giving up football but will remain in school on scholarship as a medical redshirt.

The 6-3, 232-pound junior-to-be from Erwin High School in Birmingham was hit by two major injuries last season. He suffered a torn ACL in a spring training scrimmage. It was feared the injury was so serious it would cause him to miss most, if not all, of the 2001 season.

However, Pate made a strong comeback and played in three games before suffering a major shoulder injury that required surgery and ended his season.

Phillip Pate works out in a practice last March prior to injuring his knee. Coaches Joe Whitt (left) and Terry Price are in the photo.

"Unfortunately, injuries cause things like this to happen," Coach Tommy Tuberville told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "He was an important player to our program. He worked hard and the whole family has given a lot to Auburn. We are going to miss him."

Phillip's older brother, Rob Pate, was a key performer for the Tigers. He graduated after the 2000 season.

Phillip Pate signed with the Tigers in February of 1999 after being a four-year starter in high school. He played in seven games in 2000, mostly on special teams, after redshirting in 1999. He had four tackles that season. He was making move for more playing time in spring training last season prior to the knee injury.

With a heavy rehab regimen, he returned to play in three games and started at inside linebacker in the homecoming win over Louisiana Tech. He was a key contributor as a reserve in the victory over Florida with three tackles, an interception and he deflected another pass.

Auburn players are currently involved in their winter workouts and will begin spring practices in March. The following are the spring practice dates:

*Friday, March 1

*Saturday, March 2

*Sunday, March 3

*Thursday, March 7

*Friday, March 8

*Saturday, March 9 (tentative scrimmage)

*Sunday, March 10

*Tuesday, March 12

*Friday, March 15

*Saturday, March 16

*Sunday, March 17

*Thursday, March 21 (tentative scrimmage)

Sunday, March 31

Thursday, April 4

Saturday, April 6--A-Day Football Game, 1 p.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium and AUTigers.com Inside the Auburn Tigers A-Day Tailgate Party

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