The Daily Gamecock

Lattimore announces retirement from football

Ever since Marcus Lattimore's career at South Carolina was cut short by a knee injury in October of 2012, he's been working to get back on the playing field.

But the San Francisco 49ers  running back announced Wednesday that he'll end his pursuit of a comeback and retire from football for good.

"After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it's time to end my professional football career," Lattimore said in a news release. "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."

Lattimore plans to return to USC to finish his degree in public health, but the former Gamecock standout could stay in Columbia long after graduation if he chooses. Head football coach Steve Spurrier said that between himself, Athletics Director Ray Tanner and University President Harris Pastides, someone could find a position for Lattimore at USC.

In the statement released through the 49ers, Lattimore said he also plans to continue work with his foundation "to provide opportunities and platforms to benefit youth sports programs in the State of South Carolina."

And the running back will have some financial help in his retirement. He has earned $825,000 during his two years on the non-football injury list, along with his $300,584 signing bonus, none of which the 49ers will seek repayment.

Lattimore will also be able to collect a tax-free $1.7 million from an insurance policy as long as he's declared physically unable to play by a doctor. 

Despite both his sophomore and junior years ending prematurely, Lattimore still holds a number of records in the South Carolina football program. His 38 rushing touchdowns are the most in school history, and his 1,197 rushing yards in his first year are the most ever for a freshman.

The 49ers took a chance on Lattimore in fourth-round of the 2013 draft despite his two knee injuries. He never played a down for San Francisco, but the endearing personality he became known for at South Carolina apparently won over some people in the 49er organization, including general manager Trent Baalke.  

"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," 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."


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