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Michael Decker announces ..

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4 months 2 days ago #3179 by ninja
ninja created the topic: Michael Decker announces ..
Huskers have options at center after Michael Decker announces retirement from football

LINCOLN — Michael Decker wrote he didn’t come at the decision lightly, but the “future career goals” of the junior Husker center outweighed his desire to play football at Nebraska.

So the Omaha North graduate announced on Twitter his retirement Saturday. He thanked coaches, teammates and administrators at Nebraska. A brief starter last season before suffering a severe knee injury, Decker sat out this spring. He chose to go no further in his preparation for the 2018 season.

In spring practices, three Huskers — seniors Tanner Farmer and Cole Conrad, and redshirt freshman Hunter Miller — took snaps at center, with Farmer sliding over from his starting right guard spot. Decker sometimes watched the action on crutches. Now he’ll walk away from it.

“Over the past 6 months, I have taken a step back and looked at my future career goals and decided that I can no longer accommodate football’s commitments,” Decker wrote. “It was finally time to see that these aspirations outweighed the lacking desire to continue playing the game. Which, given the team’s goals, would only hurt them by my participation.”

He didn’t immediately respond to a request from The World-Herald for additional comment.

Decker said his teammates “kept me in it for so long.” Decker told the World-Herald last October — just before the knee injury at Purdue, the last game of his Husker career — that he’d suffered a concussion as a freshman, which caused him to gauge his priorities for the first time. Once he’d ascended to the starting job in 2017 — taking over for a then-injured Conrad — he said the sacrifices were “worth it.”

“So far this year I’ve been able to enjoy the experience with my friends, and I think I’ve really valued that and been waiting for something like that ever since I got here,” Decker said in October. “These past couple of games have really made the experience, I think, worth it. So far, I have kind of decided that the experiences of playing outweigh the consequences.”

A political science major, Decker is an honor roll student at Nebraska. His dad, Chris, is an economics professor at UNO. Michael Decker’s intellect helped him identify defenses in the few games he started.

His departure leaves Conrad, Farmer and Miller as the three favorites to play center. True freshman Will Farniok — who enrolled early but appeared headed for a redshirt season — may get a look, too.

Farmer is a two-year starter at right guard, but Nebraska’s best backup lineman may be sophomore right guard Boe Wilson. Farmer’s move to center would allow both to be on the field at the same time.

If Farmer stays at guard, Conrad — the Fremont Bergan graduate started seven games at center last year — becomes a key option. He missed some of spring practices and the spring game because of rehab on a right shoulder injury. That opened the door for Miller, a walk-on from Cross County High School who missed last fall with a shoulder injury of his own.

“It’s by committee,” offensive line coach Greg Austin said of Nebraska’s approach in the spring. “I’m actually glad it’s happening that way because you always want to build depth, especially at such a crucial position like center, the guy that has to communicate.”

Decker’s retirement ostensibly puts Nebraska at 84 scholarships. That accounts for the presumed departure of offensive lineman Bryan Brokop, who refers to himself as a “former” lineman on Twitter but hasn’t officially announced his departure. Scott Frost said Thursday his official policy going forward is not to comment on the departure of any players until they announce it.

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