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Medical issue ends career for Notre Dame OLB Danny Spond

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond (No. 13) will retire from football due to a medical issue. (USATSI)
Notre Dame linebacker Danny Spond (No. 13) will retire from football due to a medical issue. (USATSI)

With two weeks until the season opener, Notre Dame's defense must find a way to replace starting outside linebacker Danny Spond.

Spond told to his teammates and coaches on Saturday morning that he will no longer play football, citing an unspecified medical. The senior linebacker started the final 11 games of 2012, recording 39 tackles, an interception and three pass break-ups.

"What was pretty apparent was that it was an emotional decision and it didn't come without a lot of thought," Kelly told reporters on Saturday. "He spent the day speaking to a lot of specialists and his family was here. This was not a decision that came easy.

"He loves his teammates, but I think what's most important is he did what was in his best interest for his future. He's got a bright future. And his immediate [future] is he wants to be with the team, and our teammates were excited to hear he'll be with us every day. He'll travel with us. He'll help coach."

Spond missed the first two games of 2012 after his body went numb during a preseason practice. Specialists determined he was suffering from severe migraines that could be treated with medication, and he returned to the playing field. Kelly did not give any specifics regarding the medical issue forcing Spond to retire, though a statement from the family is expected early next week.

Kelly said redshirt sophomore Ben Councell and true freshman Jaylon Smith will share the responsibility of filling Spond's position at outside linebacker. Smith was ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the Class of 2013, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

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