Dallas Cowboys LB DeVonte Holloman Forced to Retire Due to Neck Injury

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

USA Today

DeVonte Holloman is done playing football after doctors were concerned following his latest neck injury. The Dallas Cowboys linebacker was hurt in the team's second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.    

Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram passed along the unfortunate news from Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett:

David Helman of the team's official site noted Garrett didn't want to mention any further details at the current time:

David Moore of The Dallas Morning News noted the team's thoughts on Holloman, including these comments from safety Barry Church:

"You can’t mess around with neck injuries. I mean, you could play here a couple of more years or be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You’ve got to make that decision and he made the right one, but it’s a tough one."

Cornerback Brandon Carr added:

It’s heartbreaking. We know how much we put into each and every day we step into this facility and put the work in to get ourselves prepared for Sunday and the season. I’m at a loss for words trying to take it all in. We think of him as a person, not the athlete or teammates, but as a friend, sad to see that happened.

Dallas drafted the South Carolina product in the sixth round of last year's NFL draft. He ended up playing in nine games and contributed 26 total tackles. His biggest impact came in the regular-season finale, where he racked up 11 tackles and two sacks.

Holloman also missed seven games due to a neck-related injury. It's not immediately clear whether his latest injury was a recurrence of the same ailment or a separate issue in the same area. Either way, injuries to that part of the body are always tricky and serious.

Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News provided further information about both incidents:

Holloman was injured with 6:34 left in the fourth quarter. He was going for a tackle and one of his teammates made contact with him underneath his arm. Holloman slammed his right fist in the turf after the injury.

What's alarming is that this isn't the first neck-related injury for Holloman. He suffered a spinal contusion in a practice last season and missed seven games.

Holloman was clearly concerned as he went through the testing process, as he sent out a message of hope on Monday:

It's an extremely disappointing turn of events for the 23-year-old defender. His performance at the end of last season was enough to earn him more opportunities during training camp and the exhibition games, especially with Sean Lee out for the Cowboys.

At the very least, he was on track to earn a spot in the linebacker rotation as a reserve. Instead, it appears he won't ever step on an NFL field for another game. But the focus should always be on a player's long-term health, which is the case here for Holloman.