One of the premiere personalities of the Kansas University football team, sophomore defensive end D.J. Marshall, has finally decided to hang up his helmet.
Marshall, of course, was famously diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 2009. Although his battle with the disease was kept mostly private, he constantly found support from his Kansas family and countless supporters across the nation. Then, last November, the talented defensive end proclaimed that he was finally cancer free and joined the team in the last week of practice.
In the team’s spring game, he made back-to-back tackles for losses -- including a sack -- and was honored at halftime for his perseverance and courage.
Many assumed that Marshall would compete for playing time in the coming year; however, it was not to be.
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Jayhawks coach, Turner Gill, made the announcement at the end of Monday’s practice.
“D.J. Marshall has decided to end his football career,” Gill said (via KU Sports). “He will remain at Kansas as a student, while completing his degree in Africa/Africa-American Studies. (He) remains in remission.”
In perhaps a window into how sudden of a decision this was, Marshall said this after his successful spring game:
“I hope to see my name on the short list of names when people look at Kansas football,” he told the Journal-World’s Tom Keegan. “I want to be one of the names teams think about when they play us. I want to try to introduce my legacy as a football player, not just my situation.”
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Although the move may not leave a glaring hole in the Kansas roster from a physical standpoint, Marshall’s place on this squad was an important one. He was a key motivational figure, and one that will not easily be replaced.
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