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Cameron Saffle has medically retired.

Wishing you the best, Cam.

NCAA Football: California at North Carolina Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Outside linebacker Cameron Saffle has announced he is retiring due to medical reasons. Read his written statement below.

Never underestimate the abilities you have and the opportunities that are in front of you. Fortunately, through some remarkable personal life experiences, I learned this quite young in life.

Growing up, all I wanted to do was have fun and be happy when it came to playing sports. To this day I still live by these simple principles.

I started to develop a sense of passion and motivation about football not only from playing it but watching it as a kid. I admit I am a Seattle Seahawks fan, and watching my hometown team play and compete hard only fueled my imagination of what was possible for me. What I didn’t know was that such yearning imaginations could drive me to turn it into something real.

My journey started at the end of my high school football career. I was never one of the highly recruited student-athletes you’d read about in the media. The people that knew my athletic and academic abilities were my parents, coaches, friends and teammates. I didn’t have a plethora of offers from schools around the country, but I was convinced there was a school for me, and I was determined to find it. I mean that, literally.

As most traditional football recruiting goes for those who don’t know, a school will contact you if it thinks you can benefit the institution, athletic program and, of course, its football team. Each school has its own set of criteria, and it can vary based on what type of positions they need that year.

I found myself in a hard place during my senior year of high school with my season cut short due to a meniscus tear and a second ACL tear. I was appreciative of the few offers I had, but I was worried that my opportunity had passed to receive an offer from a Pac-12 school. I decided if those schools weren’t going to find me, then I would actively recruit myself to them. For example, I had a list on my phone of the names of every defensive coach in the Pac-12 and their office numbers that I got off each university’s website. I would sit down during lunch and call a new school every day and repeat this every week in hopes of getting my name out there. When I reached the coaches at Cal, I introduced myself and gave them my personal journey “elevator pitch” – about 60 seconds. They told me if I sent them my film, they would watch it. Soon after, I had a scholarship offer and committed to the University of California, Berkeley.

That’s what it took for me to start my journey of becoming something I had always dreamed of – a Pac-12 college football player. The best part is that it only got better from there, even when more adversity was in my future. I not only fulfilled my dream but exceeded it. I created an opportunity for myself that I will remember forever and one that nobody can take away from me. I worked hard on my recovery, and was one of only three true freshmen to play on the defensive side of the ball during the 2015 season followed by a very successful sophomore campaign in 2016. But with any sport, there is risk for injury and my knee injuries have taken a toll on me over time. It is with sadness yet immense gratitude to all those that have supported me over my career that it is time to step off the field to protect myself from any potential further debilitating injuries. This decision was initially difficult to make, but with the support of my parents, brothers, coaches, fellow student-athletes and the athletic department at Cal, the decision was quite simply the logical one to make. I love Cal and the academic/athletic family, along with the amazing fans and alumni! I love this storied institution encouraging me to be my best! I am proud to be a Golden Bear and my passion for this school will continue to flourish. I am working with the coaches to help define a role where I can still be an active and positive contributor to our athletic teams, and a representative for Cal. I am confident that even though my contributions on the field will no longer exist, my contributions off of it will be just as impactful. Team sports have been a part of my life since I was a child. Thankfully, I have had outstanding supportive coaches and teammates throughout my life and those relationships have truly helped define me as a person, a collaborator and a leader. I have made lifelong friendships and wonderful memories. Any sports accolades I have received pale in comparison to the life lessons and lifelong friendships I have from being a student-athlete. I value the friends I have made, and any personal physical adversities have only made me stronger and more thankful. Find love in the process of overcoming a challenge, and in return you will gain life experiences and perspectives that will stay with you – and help you for a lifetime. Roll on you Bears!

We wish you the best in your next chapter, Cam. You will always be a part of the Cal family. Go Bears.