Penn State TE ends career because of knee injuries, pens touching letter to fans
Two years ago, Adam Breneman was one of the nation’s top tight ends as a true freshman. The former four-star recruit was expected to form a dangerous 1-2 punch with Christian Hackenberg for years to come.
But chronic knee injuries prevented that from ever coming to fruition. And unfortunately for Breneman, his freshman season was the peak of his football career.
On Thursday, he announced that he’ll be retiring from football because of his knee injuries.
“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. “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 played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2013. The former No. 2-rated tight end in the 2013 class had 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns, and was one of four true freshmen to start for the Lions.
His 68-yard score on the opening drive in the regular-season finale against Wisconsin was and is the longest by a tight end in Penn State history.
But he missed the entire 2014 season with a knee injury, and he was limited to two games in 2015. In December, he graduated from Penn State in three years with business degree.
The following is a letter written by Breneman, as first told to pennlive.com:
Dear Penn State,
What an exciting few years it has been. It seems like just yesterday that I was standing in the Cedar Cliff High School gym announcing my commitment to Penn State University. Prior to writing this letter, I spent time reflecting on the past three years, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with all of you. There have been many memories along the way. The amazing support I have received from the fan base at Penn State has had an everlasting impact on me and my family. The journey has been amazing and unforgettable.
I will never forget the “rush” I felt when I committed to Coach O’Brien. I will never forget the tears I cried when the sanctions were announced on that summer day in 2012. I will never forget the look of pride in my parents’ eyes when I told them I would stay committed to Penn State through thick and thin. I will never forget playing against Michigan in 2013 and winning one of the most exciting games in history. I will never forget the feeling I experienced when looking into the crowd after my first touchdown against Purdue. I will never forget scoring the 68-yard touchdown which led to our upset win against Wisconsin. I will never forget the way my heart sank when I received that last call from Coach O’Brien on New Year’s Eve. I will never forget our first team meeting with Coach Franklin, or the trying times during this past season. These are just a few of the amazing memories I will forever cherish.
I have given everything I have to this great university and to you faithful fans. For some time I feared that the time would soon come when I would have to write this letter, and now it has become a reality. After very long and hard discussions with my doctors, coaches, trainers, family, and friends, we have come to the realization that now is the time for me to move on. Although I had successfully overcome multiple surgeries since 2010, the injury I sustained to my left knee in 2014 has been much more complicated.
I know many of you will be disappointed, which I understand, but I ask that none of you feel sorry for me. I have truly lived a dream at Penn State that so few people ever get to experience. I have played in huge games and scored touchdowns in front of the best fans in the country. I have played for some of the best coaches in the game.
Of course, I wish I could have contributed more on the field to this great school and to my teammates. I want nothing more than to make my teammates, my coaches, my family, and the amazing Penn State fans proud. I am not sure what the next chapter of my life will entail, but I promise no matter where I am or what I am doing, I will never ever stop fighting for Penn State.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever supported me during my career. Thank you to Coach Joe Paterno for first offering me a scholarship. Thank you to Coach Bill O’Brien for believing in me and constantly wanting the best for me. Thank you to Coach Franklin for supporting me and being there during the difficult times. And of course, none of this would ever be possible without the hard work and vision of my high school coach, Jim Cantafio.
Additionally, thank you to Tim Bream, Wes Sohns, Travis Baughman, Dr. Scott Lynch, Dr. Pete Seidenberg, Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Dr. Brian Bixler, and Dr. Brian Ulmer. The medical care I received throughout my career has been first-class. The people I named have supported me in so many ways and have fought for me when many have doubted. I will always be thankful for their hard work.
I have always said that what makes Penn State such a special place is the people. And the people that surrounded me during my time here are really what made my experience so special.
I will love Penn State and I will love the people of Penn State for as long as I live. A day will not go by that I do not wake up and thank God for sending me to this great school. I always knew since a young age this was the place I belonged. It did not always go the way I planned, but I trust this was the plan for me. I would rather go through the challenging times at Penn State than have any other experience anywhere else.
Thank you, Penn State. I will bleed blue and white forever and ever. I love you, Dear Old State, and I will forever be indebted to you.
For the glory,