LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Monday, Rawleigh Williams announced he will retire from football after recent injury during spring practice.
The junior running back for the Arkansas Razorbacks tweeted the surprise announcement, alongside a written statement on the University's sports page.
"For the 15th time this spring I suited up," wrote Williams. "I prayed in my locker and took the field by double-taping my chest twice before pointing to the sky."
Williams recalled the last touchdown he scored during the final Spring practice.
"An outside zone run to the left side. I’ve run that play literally hundreds of times in my college career. Maybe more. This outside zone run to the left would be my last."
He said while the hit looked normal on tape, it scared him, as he recalled his serious neck injury back in 2015.
"Any little thing can trigger it. I also saw the reaction of my mom and my sister. That broke my heart. I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to walk," wrote Williams.
Williams said he is one of the lucky ones, as he has dodged "a bullet" twice now.
"I’m moving onto the next chapter of my life. It’s tough to not be able to play football anymore because I’ve been playing since I was four years old. It wasn’t something I wanted to do or planned on having to do so early. I’ve prayed, listened to my doctors, my parents and my gut."
He went on to thank his fans and said that he knows God has a plan for his life.
“As a head coach you always remember the first meeting you have with all your recruits and how that first impression is made," said Bret Bielema, the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. "Rawleigh handled his recruiting with maturity and class and that followed into his playing career.”
Williams was one of the more popular players among fans and teammates. Quarterback Austin Allen said Williams was the guy everyone dreams of playing with.
“Rawleigh is a guy that every team in college football wishes they could have on their team," said Austin. He's hardworking, unselfish, determined and an all-around great teammate. When your best player is also the one who treats others with respect, is the hardest working, and one of the best in the classroom, you know that guy is special. That will be Rawleigh’s lasting legacy with this program.”
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