Lattimore, 23, tore every ligament in his right knee and dislocated his kneecap during a 2012 game while playing for the University of South Carolina. The 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and he spent the entire 2013 season on the non-football injury list recovering. He intended to make his debut this season, but his knee injury continued to derail those plans.
It was reported earlier this week he was considering retirement after experiencing soreness in his knee. He made the news official on Wednesday in a press release.
“After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided it’s time to end my professional football career,” said Lattimore. “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. I have given every ounce of my energy toward making a full recovery from my knee injury, and I have made a lot of progress. Unfortunately, getting my knee fully back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable.
“I am grateful for the entire 49ers organization. Their decision to draft me was the realization of a lifelong dream to be an NFL player, and I cannot thank them enough for believing in me and for doing everything in their power to assist in my recovery. I will always be a 49er!
Lattimore also said he will return to the University of South Carolina to complete his degree. From 49ers.com:
I cannot say enough about the support from the Gamecock family since the first day I stepped on campus until now. I am so proud to be a part of the USC family, and I promise to always represent the garnet and black with honor and integrity. I will also continue to work with my foundation, the Marcus Lattimore Foundation / DREAMS, to provide opportunities and platforms to benefit youth sports programs in the state of South Carolina. I am looking forward to pursuing my personal interests and helping others achieve their goals and dreams.
At USC, Lattimore ran for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns in three seasons.
The 49ers are 4-4 on the season and in third place in the NFC West. They play at the New Orleans Saints (4-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
- Paul Palladino