49ers tailback Marcus Lattimore, whose brilliant collegiate career was cut short by serious left knee injuries, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday.
Lattimore’s retirement comes one week after he returned to practice to test his injured knee. However, it reportedly did not go as well as hoped for the second-year running back, leading to speculation about his future.
While playing for South Carolina, the 23-year-old Lattimore tore multiple ligaments in his left knee against Tennessee on October 27, 2012. The 49ers selected him in Round Four of the 2013 NFL Draft, but he never appeared in a pro game as he worked to get healthy, spending both seasons on the reserve/non-football injury list.
In explaining his decision to retire, Lattimore indicated that rehabilitating his injured knee “fully back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable.”
Said Lattimore in a statement released by the 49ers: “After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it’s time to end my professional football career. 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 said he would return to South Carolina to finish his degree.
“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,” 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke said of Lattimore. “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.”