Johnson thanks Florida fans, coaches

Florida offensive lineman Roderick Johnson learned last week that he needed to give up football.

Always the offensive lineman that showed the most emotion on the field, it was never tough to spot Johnson on the practice field. That energy carried into the spring. The redshirt sophomore was the most experienced lineman going through practice, and that energy was important for a young group.

His energy was easy to see, and it was needed for a position group that had limited numbers.

Last week, Johnson learned that his football career would be coming to an end. He suffered an injury during a scrimmage on April 3 that was first thought to be a stinger, but further tests proved it to be something more serious -- congenital cervical stenosis, a condition where the spinal canal narrows and doesn’t allow enough fluid to surround the spinal cord to protect it from injury.

On Monday, Johnson asked Florida to share this statement to the media.

“Spinal stenosis -- April 3 2015 -- the day that changed my life,” Roderick Johnson said. “It’s hard to walk away from this game, and it's dearly easy to fall In love with when you have the right mindset and the dedication. I enjoyed my time as a Gator from the first day I got that call from Coach Muschamp. I instantly fell in love with a school I didn't like since I was a kid (lol). I had a tough time trying to enroll due to my grades. I pulled through with the love and support from the UF staff.

“Taking the redshirt my first year was rough, so going into my freshmen redshirt year I took it more serious. Listening to Coach Summers coach and trusting his technique made me a great offensive linemen and I always had heart, of course.

“It's a tough time as I try to move forward, but I still have some positives on the situation. I get to stand and talk to you instead of being in a wheelchair. I would like to say thanks to the coaching staff from Coach Mac all the way down to the graduate assistants. Being in a highly powered offense, I wanted to prove I was a great athlete even when my knee bothered me sometimes.

“In looking forward to what the future brings, I look to be a great assistant coach and make sure these 2015 offensive linemen know what it takes to be a Gator, and for that, I love Gator Nation. You turned me from a boy to a man. I want to see my teammates be great because it can be taken away from you in just one play.”

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