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Michael Saffell Medically Retires From Football

Jul 23, 2021
Michael Saffell announced his retirement from football on Friday.

BERKELEY – Michael Saffell announced Friday that he has medically retired from football due to injury via a letter and video addressed to the Cal football family.

"Being a football student-athlete at Cal has been more than I could have dreamed of," Saffell said. "I've had so many opportunities to excel on the field, as well as in the classroom and the community. There are many people to thank including my Cal football teammates, coaches and staff, as well as the University's professors, our fans and so many more. This was a difficult decision but the right one for me. Although I will miss competing and the camaraderie with my teammates, I will always be a part of the Cal family and knowing that helps ease the disappointment that my football playing career has come to an end. I'm excited for my next challenge."

"Mike has been an absolute pleasure to coach and be around the last four years," Travers Family Head Football Coach Justin Wilcox added. "He embodies everything a collegiate student-athlete should be. Not only has Mike been a tremendous player on the field, but just as importantly, he has been a leader among his teammates, as well as in the classroom and the community. His medical retirement is a difficult reality for all of us and we will miss him greatly, but we fully support his decision and know that he will be hugely successful in the next chapter of his life."

Below are notes on Saffell with an extended bio available by clicking on his name.
Michael Saffell, OL, 6-2, 295, Huntington Beach, CA (Edison HS)
Cal Career: 2017-20
2021 Honors – Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Nominee®; Players To Watch (Athlon); Preseason All-California Region First Team (SportsPac-12); Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team (Lindy's, Pro Football Focus), Third Team (Athlon), Fourth Team (Phil Steele); Rimington Award Watch List
– Played in 28 games with 23 starts over four seasons from 2017-20 including 15 of 17 Cal contests at center over the past two campaigns as a 2019 junior and 2020 senior following his first eight starts at right guard including the first six as a 2018 sophomore before suffering a season-ending lower-body injury and two as a 2017 freshman
– Did not record any statistics other than participation
– Selected as the Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior, while he was also named second-team (Pro Football Focus), third-team (SportsPac-12) and honorable mention (Pac-12 Coaches) All-Pac-12 after starting all four games and serving as a team season captain
– Picked up second-team All-Pac-12 honors from Pro Football Focus as a junior
– Honored with the Pac-12's annual academic recognition each of his last three seasons as a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic selection as a sophomore and a member of the league's Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll that replaced its Pac-12 All-Academic teams as a junior and senior
– Took over from Patrick Laird as the lead ambassador for the Cal Athletics Summer Reading Challenge and visited approximately 25 organizations and spoke to over 5000 kids in the summer of 2019 to promote reading and combat summer learning loss
– Graduated from Cal with a bachelor's degree in business administration from the prestigious Haas School of Business in three-and-a-half years in December of 2020