Senior tight end Kiel Pollard, who was expected to be a major contributor for USC again this season, announced today on Instagram he is having to give up the sport due to a neck injury he suffered in practice last week. Pollard stated in his post he thought he would be able to return within 4-6 weeks, but he learned earlier this week the injury was too serious and the risks to his future health too great to continue playing. He’s the second big loss at the position with Evan Hinson out at least two months with a heart related issue.
Here is the text of Pollard’s Instagram post:
“Ever since I was 3 years old, my life has involved football. Last week I did something that every football player knows not to do, I ducked my head while blocking. As I waited on the exam table I thought everything was straight. To my surprise, after the MRI was completed and what felt like the longest 2 hours of my life, I was informed that I would be out for 4-6 weeks with a broken neck. I was perfectly fine with that. I felt no pain and my body was tired so I felt that rest was in order. This week that changed when I found out that last Tuesday would be my last time playing football. Not that I’m not able, but that it’s not safe for me to do so. I have loved football and always will! It was my desire to rock Willy B Stadium this year and then play in the NFL but I am aware that God has greater plans for my life! I KNOW THAT I AM MORE THAN FOOTBALL!!! Please don’t feel sorry for me because football has been good to me. Football has provided me with a great education in which I will be graduating in December this year! I am smart enough to know God doesn’t give anyone a gift that he doesn’t plan on using! So with that being said one chapter ends and another begins! 87 out.”
Late Friday afternoon, USC head coach Will Muschamp issued a statement on Pollard’s retirement:
“Kiel suffered a small fracture in his neck last week, which was to have sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. However, during an MRI, the doctors discovered a cyst on his spinal cord, which appears to have been there since he was a child. The severity of the situation and the possible long-term consequences from that medical condition forced him to give up his playing career. Our hearts go out to Kiel and family. He is a great representative of our program and our University. He is on schedule to graduate in December and will not doubt have a successful career in the coaching profession.”
Pollard is a native of Moultrie, GA. He did not redshirt and in his three seasons caught 17 passes for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. 15 of those receptions and both touchdowns came last season.
Pollard’s departure leaves Kyle Markway, Will Register and former offensive lineman Chandler Farrell to compete at the tight end spot along with a pair of freshmen. There’s also transfer Nick Muse but he’s not yet been cleared for eligibility.