SANTA CLARA, Calif. - 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore made it official Wednesday.
After attempting a comeback to the field two years removed from a gruesome knee injury suffered in his final game at South Carolina, he announced his retirement in a team-issued statement after it had been reported earlier in the week.
“After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it’s time to end my professional football career,” said Lattimore in a statement. “I have given my heart and soul to the game that I love, and it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life and help others. I have given every ounce of my energy toward making a full recovery from my knee injury, and I have made a lot of progress. Unfortunately, getting my knee fully back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable."
The 49ers took a chance on Lattimore by drafting him in the fourth round in 2013 believing he was one of the most talented running backs available when healthy. The team has made a habit in recent seasons of drafting players with injuries and giving them a "red shirt" season to begin their NFL careers.
“This was a very difficult decision for Marcus and it was clear after speaking with him that he had put a lot of thought into it,” San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said. “He is a high-character young man who has done everything asked of him and more during his time with us and we have a great deal of respect for the strength and commitment he showed throughout the rehab process. It has been a pleasure to have Marcus as a member of our team and our community and we are confident that he will be very successful in whichever path he chooses to take in life. We look forward to supporting Marcus and wish him nothing but the best.”
Lattimore returned to the practice field last week after his 21-day practice window was opened. He began the season on the non-football injury list and did not participate in training camp.
“I am grateful for the entire 49ers organization," Lattimore continued. "Their decision to draft me was the realization of a lifelong dream to be an NFL player, and I cannot thank them enough for believing in me and for doing everything in their power to assist in my recovery. I will always be a 49er!
“Though I am proud of what I have accomplished throughout my football career, I am sincerely disappointed that it must end, but I trust that God has a great plan for my future. As for what’s next, I will be returning to the University of South Carolina to complete my degree. I cannot say enough about the support from the Gamecock family since the first day I stepped on campus until now. I am so proud to be a part of the USC family, and I promise to always represent the garnet and black with honor and integrity. I will also continue to work with my foundation, the Marcus Lattimore Foundation / DREAMS, to provide opportunities and platforms to benefit youth sports programs in the state of South Carolina. I am looking forward to pursuing my personal interests and helping others achieve their goals and dreams.
“There are so many people who have supported me throughout my career; it is impossible to list them all and to show them the proper gratitude. I must thank God for all of His blessings and guidance. I would not be where I am today without the support of my family. I also appreciate the outpouring of support from friends, fans, opposing players and strangers; your support means more than you will ever know.”
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