Concussion leads Gophers OL Jimmy Gjere to end football career
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Gophers offensive lineman Jimmy Gjere has decided to end his football career due to an ongoing battle with concussion symptoms, coach Jerry Kill announced Monday.
The redshirt sophomore from New Brighton, Minn, started five games in 2011 before suffering a concussion in the Gophers' Oct. 1 game versus Michigan. The injury kept him off the field for the rest of the season and he continued to struggle with the aftereffects into the off-season.
By the summer, Gjere was reportedly seeing improvements and was cleared for the start of fall camp on Aug. 4 He was targeted as one of three candidates competing for the starting job at right tackle this season. However, Gjere was not being used in the regular practice rotation by the end of the week.
Gjere approached the coaching staff on Sunday about his decision to step away from the game.
"Jimmy worked hard to get back to where he wanted to play. As he went through the process we were very patient," Kill said.
"At the end of the day he just didn't feel right. We understand. We'll move on. We certainly support him and he'll be a part of the program working with us. I feel bad for the kid. He feels bad, but at the end of the day we're going to do what is best for the kid.
Gjere was one of two Gophers lineman who battled a concussion last season. Redshirt freshman Josh Campion missed all the 2011 season. But after a lengthy rehab, Campion has been deemed healthy. He is the frontrunner to start at right tackle, having seen the majority of his reps in camp have come with the first team offense.
While Gjere is obviously upset and disappointed about his outcome, the Gophers plan to have him remain with the program, though his role has yet to be determined. Kill said he is giving Gjere a couple days to go over a few options.
E.J. Sardinha, a freshman wide receiver out of Palm Beach Central High School (Fla.), will replace Gjere on the Gophers' 105-man camp roster. The decision to insert Sardinha over redshirt sophomore offensive lineman speaks to the Gophers' desire to add depth at wide receiver. Injuries have already become an issue at the position. Devin Crawford-Tufts (hamstring) and Victor Keise have both missed practice time in the last week.