Stoops announces Habern to conclude career

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooner head coach Bob Stoops was set to release his roster changes Wednesday for the upcoming season, but no one could have guessed the biggest bombshell of them all: senior center Ben Habern has decided to cut his career short due to lingering neck and back concerns.

"Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben," Stoops said in a release. "Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU."

Habern, who attended Big 12 Media Days as one of the OU representatives, started 30 contests at center throughout his career, including six a year ago despite breaking his wrist.

A preseason Rimington Award watch list recipient, as well as a preseason first team All-Big 12 member and 2010 honorable mention offensive lineman, he was supposed to be the anchorman of perhaps the most veteran and dominant offensive line since the 2008 one that guided OU to the BCS National Championship Game.

Instead, he'll watch Gabe Ikard again likely shift over to center, while Adam Shead will step into the starting spot at left guard.

In other news, Stoops reinstated wide receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks and defensive back Quentin Hayes to practice activities only.

The three will remain suspended indefinitely from games until a later day.

Wide receiver Kameel Jackson is still suspended indefinitely from all events and will be reevaluated at the end of the current academic session.

JUCO transfers, wide receiver Courtney Gardner and offensive lineman Will Latu will not be with the team this fall, but, as previously reported, Stoops confirmed Gardner could join the team for the spring semester.

The Sooner Caravan event takes place tonight at 7, while players report Thursday and the team host its first practice Friday.

Meet the Sooners Day takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, with OU Media Day slated after that.

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