Marcus Lattimore, once a star running back at the University of South Carolina and a current member of the San Francisco 49ers, is retiring from football at the age of 23 without ever having played in an NFL game.

Lattimore hasn't played since suffering a gruesome knee injury while at South Carolina in 2012. He missed the last four games of that season and was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the 49ers. He's been rehabbing and trying to get back on the field ever since, but things apparently just aren't working out for him:

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.

This is sad for a number of reasons, chief among them the fact that Marcus Lattimore used to be the truth. He was one of those transcendent college runners—a guy who looked too fast and too strong for his competition even as a freshman—whom you just knew was going to wreck shit in the NFL someday.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Lattimore received a $300,000 signing bonus when the 49ers drafted him, but he likely wasn't paid his salary over the last two seasons because he spent them on the non-football injury reserve list. He will likely be able to cash out a $1.7 million insurance policy that he got after injuring his knee.

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In 29 games at South Carolina, Lattimore rushed for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns. All he's got to show for it is an NFL career that never was and $2 million cobbled together from a signing bonus and an insurance policy.

[ESPN | 49ers]