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Cal LB Cameron Saffle medically retires from football

BERKELEY, CA – OCTOBER 01: Cameron Saffle #51 of the California Golden Bears celebrates with DeVante Wilson #95 during their game against the Utah Utes at California Memorial Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Cal linebacker Cameron Saffle is medically retiring from football.

Saffle, a starter for the team in 2016, was injured in Cal’s first game of the 2017 season and ended up missing the rest of the year. The team never said what that injury was, but Saffle mentioned multiple knee injuries and the risk for reinjury in his retirement letter on Tuesday.

“But with any sport, there is risk for injury and my knee injuries have taken a toll on me over time,” Saffle said. “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.”

Saffle had 57 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss in 2016 and started every one of Cal’s 12 games. He finishes his three-year career with 73 career tackles.

“Cameron Saffle is one of the finest individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. “It is unfortunate that he will not be able to continue playing football, but he has an incredibly bright future and will continue to be an important part of our program as he works towards his Cal degree. We will support him in achieving that goal and are looking forward to his ongoing contributions in a new role.”

The Bears finished 5-7 in Wilcox’s first season as head coach.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!