Medical reasons force Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond to end career
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media August 17, 2013 10:08PM
AP TOP 25
Alabama, with coach Nick Saban (right), is the top-ranked team in the Associated Press’ preseason Top 25. Notre Dame is No. 14 and Northwestern No. 22. Complete poll, Page 48.
Updated: September 19, 2013 10:15AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame cornerback Lo Wood
described linebacker Danny Spond as the type of teammate available for any kind of discussion.
Linebacker Prince Shembo called Spond ‘‘a big brother.’’
‘‘Whenever you need a good
answer, when someone needs to end an argument, you go ahead and ask Spond,’’ Shembo said. ‘‘He’s that guy.’’
Spond still will be around to help, but he no longer will play football for the Irish. Coach Brian Kelly said Spond addressed the team Saturday and announced his intentions. Kelly said the reasons were medical but didn’t want to get into specifics. Kelly said Spond and his family will release a statement early next week.
‘‘What was pretty apparent was that it was an emotional decision,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘It didn’t come without a lot of thought. He spent the day speaking to a lot of specialists, and his family was here. This was not a decision that came easy. He loves his teammates, but I think what’s most important is he did what’s in his best interest for his future. He’s got a bright future.’’
In August 2012, Spond reportedly had to go to the hospital and couldn’t move the left side of his body. He was diagnosed with a
severe migraine and missed the first two games of Notre Dame’s season.
Spond started the Irish’s last 11 games and finished with 39 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and three pass breakups. He played in 29 games in three seasons with the team.
‘‘We’re just glad he was able to make the decision for himself to be able to better his future,” kicker/punter Kyle Brindza said.
Kelly said Spond will travel with the team and help as a coach of sorts. Jaylon Smith and Ben Councell are among the players competing to fill Spond’s spot at outside linebacker.
‘‘Who’s better qualified with his experience to help us with Jaylon and Ben, and we’ll cross-train
Romeo Okwara at that position, as well,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘[Spond’s teammates] see in one sense that they are not going to have a teammate, but they are going to have somebody that’s going to be with them every day. He’ll truly be seen every day.’’
NOTES: Coach Brian Kelly said linebacker Doug Randolph will have shoulder surgery and miss the season.
† Defensive lineman Tony Springmann will miss the season opener against Temple because of a knee injury.
† Running back Will Mahone has a high ankle sprain and might be out two weeks.