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COLUMBIA -- Gamecocks tight end Kiel Pollard is retiring from football after suffering a broken neck last week during preseason camp.

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Pollard announced his intentions on Instagram Friday afternoon, saying it was because he ducked his head while blocking during a team drill at practice.

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"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," he wrote in his post. "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!!!"

Pollard had been out the last few days, head coach Will Muschamp said, with a stinger and the staff was handling it.

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His career ends really before he was able to get his shot on the field.

After putting up 203 yards in 38 career games with two touchdowns, Pollard was expected to be one of the Gamecocks' starters this season before the career-ending injury.

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"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!"

Pollard is the second Gamecock tight end this season to suffer a serious injury, with Evan Hinson missing 6-8 weeks after getting a procedure done to fix an irregular heartbeat.

The Gamecocks currently have two tight ends now who have game experience -- Will Register and Kyle Markway -- two freshmen in Trae Kenion and KeShawn Toney and transfer Nick Muse, who is hoping to be eligible this season.

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Collyn Taylor reports for www.GamecockCentral.com, the www.Rivals.com affiliate devoted to USC athletics.


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