After practice on Thursday afternoon, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney informed TigerNet that Richard Yeargin plans to retire from football, at least for now. The defensive end, who looked to contribute as a valuable depth option on a stacked Tigers defense, instead intends to try his hand as a student coach for the program.
Yeargin’s retirement comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 season. After sustaining a neck injury during a scary car crash in June, he spent the entire season in recovery. Although Clemson fans and media outlets alike may have expected Yeargin to return to the field, the player himself sees a future on the sideline.
“He actually came over to my house last night and told me he kind of wants to hit the pause button on football,” Swinney said. “He got a good report from the doctor the [other] day, but he told me he wants to maybe be a student coach and see where that takes him.”
Don’t expect Swinney to raise any objections. He had nothing but praise for the veteran defensive lineman’s commitment to the rehabilitation process.
“He has had a lot of adversity since he has been here,” the Tigers’ coach said. “Not everybody can come back from that kind of injury and having to wear a neck brace. But he had overcome all of that. He has two years remaining, but right now he is going to hang up the cleats and I support that.”
Swinney’s mention of Yeargin’s remaining eligibility appears to leave the door open for a possible return to the roster, if the player has a change of mind. One way or another, Yeargin will provide valuable leadership experience to a Clemson program that looks set to contend for the College Football Playoff in 2018.