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Knee Injuries Too Hard to Overcome; RB Marcus Lattimore Retires

November 6th, 2014 at 12:15 PM
By Edwin Mariano Santiano Wise

It had been said on several accounts that running back Marcus Lattimore was the next great talent to come out of the college ranks. Unfortunately for Lattimore and football fans across the country, the young phenom may go down as one of the biggest "what if's" of all-time. Lattimore informed the San Francisco 49ers that he will be retiring.

Here's the statement from Lattimore via 49ers.com:

"After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it’s time to end my professional football career,” said Lattimore. “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.

“I am grateful for the entire 49ers organization. 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!

The 49ers new it would be a bit of a gamble when Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and company selected Lattimore with their fourth-round pick back in 2013. Lattimore, though, quickly impressed Harbaugh with his immense talent, which led to Harbaugh proclaiming Lattimore to be the "steal of the draft."

The South Carolina product was an instant star and fan favorite during his freshman year in college. Lattimore was workhorse out of the backfield, placing second in the SEC in rush attempts and first in plays from scrimmage, while tallying the third most yards in the conference with 1,197. Additionally, his 17 rushing touchdowns were the 10th most in the entire NCAA.The young man appeared destined to become one of the greats.

But in his sophomore year, things took a turn for the worse. Seven games into a fantastic year, Lattimore's season quickly came to a halt. A devastating knee injury ended his year and even put his career into question. Despite only appearing in seven games, Lattimore still finished in the top five in the SEC in total touchdowns (11; 3rd) and accumulated over 800 rushing yards to the tune of 5.0 ypc.

Lattimore persevered, though, and made his way back the following year. In the midst of enjoying another fantastic year, hardship would come crashing down on him once again. He tore every ligament in his right knee and dislocated his knee cap after taking a hard hit against the Georgia Bulldogs. Injury ended his college career as the former Gamecock declared his eligibility for the draft.

The 49ers had been hopeful to see the 23 year old running back in practice over the upcoming weeks. There was even some talk about playing him in some games at the end of the season However, the rehab and training proved to be a bit too much, and the idea of playing cautiously could have played a factor as well.

Respected and immensely talented, Marcus Lattimore was still able to make an impact on the Niners organization in such a short time. Harbaugh had the following to say about the young running back:

"He gave it his best shot. Great kid, young man…There's a trusting, lasting friendship there."

Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Football, Jim Harbaugh, Marcus Lattimore, NFL, San Francisco, San Francisco 49ers

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