Emeka Nnoli To Retire From Football

Aug. 12, 2007

Stanford, Calif. - Emeka Nnoli will retire from football due to avascular necrosis in both hips after being advised by Stanford medical personnel to stop playing football. Nnoli started 10 of the team's 12 games in 2006 and was expected to repeat his role as the team's starting fullback this season.

'It's an unfortunate situation, because I was looking forward to having a big season this year,' said Nnoli. 'The coaches were high on me after spring ball and going into summer workouts. This thing was lingering in the back of my mind, and I just wanted to get it checked out. I didn't think it was going to be as big of a deal as it was, but I think it's the best choice for me to stay out and let it heal on its own.'

'It's unfortunate, because I've played with these guys for five years,' Nnoli continued. 'I know they're going to do big things this year and go to a bowl game. I was looking forward to all of those things this season, but I'm definitely still going to be around the team doing as much as I can and helping out the young guys. I know that they will welcome me to still be part of the team as well.'

Nnoli moved into the team's starting fullback spot in 2006 when, ironically, Nick Frank suffered a cervical spine condition that ended his career. Nnoli started each of the team's last 10 games last season and contributed 49 rushing yards on 19 carries, while also catching eight balls for 62 yards and gaining a reputation as an excellent blocking back. He also had one rush for five yards in 2004 and has been a key special teams player during his Stanford career.

'We love Emeka, and he will still be a big part of our football team,' commented Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. 'But, it looks like he's been dealt a blow that he won't be able to play football again. We know it's in God's hands and things happen for a reason. We don't always know what that plan is. Here's a guy that going into his senior season was definitely going to be an NFL guy, but like I told Emeka that when he goes to look for a job in sixth months he'll have that Stanford degree. That's why those eggs aren't all in one basket.'

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