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Cowboys LB Holloman has career-ending neck injury

Cowboys LB Holloman's Career May Be Over
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys said Thursday that linebacker DeVonte Holloman has a career-ending neck injury related to a spinal problem that kept him out almost half of his rookie season a year ago.

Coach Jason Garrett said Holloman was advised not to play again after doctor evaluations this week.

After missing the first two days of practice this week, the 23-year-old Holloman was on the field Thursday in his No. 57 jersey but didn't appear in the locker room when it was open to reporters after Garrett's announcement.

Garrett wouldn't discuss details of the injury other than saying Holloman has been dealing with a neck issue "the last couple of weeks." Holloman came out of last weekend's preseason game against Baltimore midway through the fourth quarter because of the injury.

"It's a very challenging, difficult thing for a young man who has dreams of being an NFL football player, achieves those dreams," Garrett said. "But this becomes an easy decision for him and for his family when you're dealing with that kind of injury."

Holloman returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in his Dallas debut in the Hall of Fame preseason game last year, and the converted safety ended up starting at middle linebacker in the regular-season finale against Philadelphia because of injuries to other players.

The sixth-round pick, who played the first six weeks before injuring his neck in practice and missing seven games, led the Cowboys with 11 tackles in a loss that kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs.

"It bothered me a lot ... because me and Holloman, we was like a brotherhood," said safety J.J. Wilcox, another member of Dallas' 2013 draft class. "It just goes to show you that this game here is not for long. It's tough."

The Cowboys have already lost middle linebacker Sean Lee to a season-ending knee injury. Holloman was essentially slotted as Lee's backup while getting work at both outside linebacker spots as well. His versatility was expected to help offset the loss of Lee.

"He was such a good role player for us last year," Garrett said. "At every turn just took full advantage of the opportunity to show us what he's all about. Did that this year in training camp as well. You could tell he was dealing with this though."

Several Dallas players heard the news on Holloman from reporters, including Orlando Scandrick. The seventh-year cornerback has been suspended for the first four games for violating the ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

"It's humbling," Scandrick said. "It's something that I've done for so many years, to have it temporarily taken away from me. And I can't even imagine how he feels to have something permanently taken away from him for things that he can't control."

Holloman played four years at South Carolina and had seven career interceptions as a safety.

"He's going to be successful in the real world," Wilcox said. "I'm pretty sure he's got his head on straight, so I know he's going to do great things outside of football."

NOTES: QB Tony Romo returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session. He was vague on how long he will play in Dallas' third preseason game at Miami on Saturday night. Owner Jerry Jones said earlier in the week it would be close to the same 16 snaps, and 14 official plays, that Romo had against the Ravens. It was his first game since back surgery in December. ... CB Sterling Moore practiced for the first time since late in training camp.

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ltpar August 21 2014 at 8:46 PM

Hopefully, Holloman was smart enough to finish college before going Pro and will be able to use his education to find a decent job. Who knows, the cowboy organization might find him a front office job to keep him in the organization? Sorry to see a fine young player have to leave the game.

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gococksri August 21 2014 at 10:50 PM

He's coming back to Columbia to be a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the ball. He was a ball-hawking defensive player who could bring the wood and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward loved his football-smarts and his ability to execute the playbook. Three of his career interceptions were game-changers. We all hate this for Holloman because he was such a good kid and good Gamecock. He'll always be welcome in Columbia.

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egoad25236 August 22 2014 at 9:00 AM

Agree with most of the other comments. This is a good example of why these young men need to focus on academics first and football second. You are only one tackle away from wishing you had taken the academic part of your college life more seriously. I hope he does well.

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Dan August 22 2014 at 8:24 AM

Although his career in the NFL has ended too soon perhaps he can have a promising future as a high school or college football coach. Any school would be proud to have a former pro on their coaching staff. Hey! When former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich's NFL career ended he went back to Notre Dame (this time paying tuition) to enter their law school and today he has a law practice in Chicago. So may DeVonte Holloman also have a great post-NFL future. ☺

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clpblank August 22 2014 at 2:10 AM

What was devastating was that he had to play for the crybadies wait that was just romo. Honestly you never wish this one any person and sad to see what might have been a good career end.

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billcdaly August 22 2014 at 10:11 AM

Sad to hear about Holloman.
The Cowboys are the most over hyped team in the USA. Over the last 18 years they are an 8-8 team.
Time for Jerry to fire the GM - but wait!!!

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1 reply
Michael billcdaly August 22 2014 at 11:32 AM

said by somebody who couldn't buy a bisquit without holding the gravy and probably never played a down of anything but pocket poool.

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dawgfed5 August 22 2014 at 12:29 PM

What a shame, seems like a great kid!

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moeelmore August 22 2014 at 12:07 PM

Necks and spines are crazy - strong and also vulnerable. He can live with this so its not life ending, just causing a career change. I wish him luck.

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doom2ruler August 22 2014 at 1:40 PM

This is something you never want to hear, regardless of what your preferred team is. It's an honest shame what happened to him and I wish him the absolute best in whatever he chooses to do after the NFL. To come so far and be able to touch the dream with the tips of your fingers, only to lose it at the very last moment... Sadly, I know the feeling all too well.

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vrcelex August 22 2014 at 1:50 PM

God has bigger plans for him.

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