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Penn State TE Adam Breneman says career is over due to injury

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State tight end Adam Breneman, the No. 1-rated recruit at his position in 2013, announced Thursday that he's retiring from football due to a chronic knee injury.

He was a redshirt sophomore this past season but graduated in December with a 3.25 GPA in business management.

"I want to thank Coach [Bill] O'Brien, Coach [James] Franklin, my teammates and the Penn State fans for the great memories over the last three years," Breneman said in a statement. "I have truly treasured my time as a Nittany Lion, and I am confident that the Penn State experience has prepared me for the next phase of my life."

Breneman was a key piece in the Nittany Lions' 2013 recruiting class. He committed in March 2012 and never wavered throughout the unprecedented sanctions that July. He was Penn State's third Class of 2013 commit (who stuck with the school), and he helped set a tone that Happy Valley remained a top destination for recruits.

But because of lingering injuries, his impact was never quite felt on the field. He missed his final high school season with a torn ACL in his right knee and was then forced to redshirt his college sophomore season with an undisclosed injury to his left knee.

He never seemed to be able to shake that last injury. Before that, as a true freshman, he hauled in 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Since the injury, he played in just two games -- against Ohio State and Michigan State this season -- and never made a catch.

“I know that it was a difficult for Adam to step away from the game, but he felt it was the right time,” Franklin said in a statement. “We are so proud of his work in the classroom, having earned his degree in three years. Adam is a special young man that has left his imprint on not only the Penn State football program, but the Penn State community at large. He has been a difference-maker at a very young age and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Breneman now plans to pursue opportunities in business or politics. He was the vice president of Uplifting Athletes and also created a fundraising campaign, "Catch the Cure," which raised more than $200,000 to fight ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.