Notre Dame will have a huge hole to fill on the offensive line, as guard Steve Elmer will forgo his final year of eligibility. However, he isn't going to the NFL.
Elmer confirmed the news in an article he wrote for Notre Dame's official website, saying, "The professional opportunity in front of me has helped me to realize that I'm just ready to be done with football."
Even though the circumstances around Elmer's departure from the Notre Dame football program sound strange, he had nothing but rave reviews about his three years with the Fighting Irish:
My time at Notre Dame is something I will always cherish, leaving me with the best of friends and countless memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I owe so much to this University, not only for giving me the chance to play on college football's biggest stage and preparing me for life beyond the game, but for helping to make me the man I am today. All I ask from you is that you trust me when I say I know that I have made the right decision.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly also released a statement about Elmer's decision, per Michael Bertsch, Notre Dame's director of football media relations:
Notre Dame OL Steve Elmer will forgo final year of athletic eligibility. Irish head coach Brian Kelly confirms... pic.twitter.com/zRfqTXyjeM— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) February 16, 2016
While Elmer doesn't divulge what exactly his future plans are, Matt Fortuna of ESPN noted the junior did spend last year as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C.
Bertsch's tweet also notes that Elmer will graduate this May with an economics degree, so this young man has clearly given his future a lot of thought and considered the ramifications of his decision.
Elmer's been a rock on Notre Dame's offensive line, appearing in 36 games with 30 career starts and was part of the team's Fiesta Bowl run in 2015. His time with the Irish may be over, but his impact on and off the field will give him a lasting legacy with the program that few student-athletes will match.