"It's a big blessing to be in this situation, but it's kind of a curse to have to decide," David Pollack said Monday at a news conference. "I'll never be able to repay (Georgia) for what they've done for me, but there comes a time you have to make a decision ... and I'll take one more year."
Those words brought a standing ovation from about 40 of his sweaty
teammates who left the weight room and packed the back of the Bulldogs'
team meeting room for the 3 p.m. announcement.
Quarterback David Greene, Pollack's roommate and friend since
childhood, wasn't certain until Pollack told him at 1 p.m., he said.
"I pretty much knew then he was staying, but I wasn't absolutely
positive because he's changed his mind so much," Greene said.
Coach Mark Richt and defensive line coach Rodney Garner both said in
the last week that they expected the All-American defensive end to
return, but, as late as Sunday evening, Richt didn't know for sure if
Pollack would stay in school or make an early entry into the NFL Draft.
After the press conference, Richt's wife Katharyn told Pollack that the
Richts' daughter, Anya, expressed her desire for Pollack to stay on
"He said, 'Then, you call him, maybe he'll listen to you,'"
Richt told Pollack.
Pollack leaned mostly on advice from his parents and his girlfriend of
more than three years, Lindsey Hopkins, he said, instead of listening to
agents or Georgia's coaches, all of whom have a vested interest in his
"You have to find people who are neutral," he said.
Pollack, a 6-foot-3, 278-pounder, said he and his family talked to
several agents about his stock in the draft. He also applied to the
NFL's underclassmen advisory committee, and all the answers he got were
the same, he said.
"Everybody said I'd be a mid- to late-first round pick," he
wasn't an issue. Otherwise, I'd be gone. The money is there, but it's
not my time to take it yet."
Pollack took out an insurance policy in the spring before his junior
year to guard against a career-ending injury, and he has increased the
benefit several times since.
"I've gotten a ton more since football season started," he said,
declining to say how much the policy is worth.
The Bulldogs lost four players to season-ending injuries this year and
several more missed significant time, a fact which weighed on Pollack's
mind when he thought about the risk of returning, he said.
Eventually, though his decision came down to a desire to experience a
senior year and to spend one more offseason with his teammates. He
acknowledged that the grind of the season and the celebrity status he
has achieved in Athens wear on him at times.
"Sometimes I felt like I didn't want to be around here anymore,"
said. "Sometimes you go out to eat and you sign autographs for 20
minutes. Most of the time I love it, but sometimes you're right in the
middle of eating. I love having fans, but there's a time and place for
He added he enjoys the relative obscurity of the offseason to the
hectic pace of the fall.
"The fun season is now, in the offseason, when y'all (media members)
aren't hounding us all the time," he said.
The return of Pollack coupled with the availability of Warner Robins
native Will Thompson, who is expected to be ready next season after
missing 2003 due to an ankle injury, will give the Bulldogs one of the
best pass rushing duos in the Southeastern Conference.
"Will Thompson is very motivational for me," Pollack said.
"He brings a
spirit, a fun spirit to the game. I didn't really have that this year. I
missed Will. I love Will Thompson, and I can't wait for him to be back
playing every day."
Pollack was fourth on the team this season with 92 tackles and he also
had 7 sacks. He won the Ted Hendricks National Defensive End of the
Year Award and was named second-team All-American and first-team
All-SEC. Last season, he set a school record with 14 sacks, and he needs
six more break Richard Tardits' career UGA record of 29.
"Of course I want to get the sack record, and I have some team
he said. "If we continue to get better, we can be one of the best teams
in Georgia history. If we keep working hard, we can achieve every goal
we want to meet, there is no doubt about it. I think we have a lot of special things going on at Georgia, and I
didn't want to miss out on it."
AROUND THE DOGHOUSE: Starting guard Josh Brock will have surgery on
his damaged left shoulder and is expected to miss spring practice, he
Brock, a sophomore from Cartersville, missed two games and had to sit
out parts of others during the regular season. He then suffered a
setback during practice for the Capital One Bowl and had to sit out the
final three quarters of that game. The surgery will correct a biceps
tendon that is partially torn from his shoulder and other potential
problems, he said.
"I don't know what's going on in there," said Brock, who hopes
surgery will be performed Friday.
David Pollack Discusses Decision
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