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Former bluechip lineman Andy Bauer retires from football

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In 2014, Andy Bauer was one of the top recruits in the state of Missouri but a series of hip injuries has forced him to retire from football.

It was just earlier this week we had started having hope that maybe, possibly, Andy Bauer had overcome the hip injuries that had sidelined him for the past two years. I had put him as a primary backup at left guard just Tuesday in our Spring Previews. Then the news broke:

"Andy Bauer had left hip arthroscopic surgery in June, 2015 to repair a torn hip labrum," Sharp said in the statement. "Despite his dedication and commitment to post-surgical and sport specific rehabilitation over a long period of time, Andy was unable to return to his previous level of football-related activity. In the interest of Andy’s overall health and welfare, and to help ensure his academic success, the athletic health care staff, football staff, Andy, and his family have decided that Andy will retire from football.

- Via a statement from head trainer Rex Sharp

Teammates and family responded via social media and the outpouring of love and support was heart-warming:

Redshirt sophomore Kevin Pendleton, who was in the same 2014 recruiting class as Bauer:

Paul Adams, also from the 2014 class

Keyon Dilosa, a receiver from the 2014 recruiting class

Trevon Walters, a running back from the same class, who's coming back from his own serious knee injury:

Clay Rhodes' father, Randy:

Andy's little brother Robby:

It seems like we've seen more players retire from football lately due to lingering injuries or the risks of CTE, from Michigan's Jack Miller, to Missouri's redshirt senior running back Morgan Steward, who suffered a serious hip injury and was forced to retire earlier this year. Pete Scantlebury had an excellent interview with Steward earlier this week.

The news made me think of an article Pat Ivey shared on Thursday, about the struggle athletes go through to make it in this violent sport.

To actually make it to the NFL requires a singular focus from an early age. Because the rosters are so big, the competition is particularly fierce. It's a collision sport, so players make peace with pain and injuries at a young age. After a player proves he's good enough to play at a major college program, maintaining personal and family relationships can be difficult. The reward for a job well done is a chance at an NFL career that has shrunk to an average length of 2.66 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. And once the sport leaves you behind, adjusting to real life is daunting.

Combined with the departure of sophomore Michael Fairchild in late January, Missouri is down to 10 scholarship lineman of 86 scholarship players. Missouri added two lineman in the last recruiting class, East St. Louis's Tre'Vour Simms and Webb City's Trystan Castillo. Increasingly, it looks like Mizzou will be need at least one of them to compete for playing time this fall.

We all wish Andy Bauer the best and hope he's able to have a rich and fulfilling life after football.

Other possible injury news

Missouri wide receiver Ray Wingo

Combined with an unknown injury to Jonathan Johnson which we reported earlier this week, Missouri's slot return depth may be rapidly dwindling. I'll try and find more information during Saturday's practice session.

New WR/special teams coach

Jonathan Rutledge announced on twitter he was officially "Headed to Mizzou". He arrives from North Carolina and coached at Memphis with Odom. According to his NC bio page:

He worked the previous two seasons as graduate assistant at the University of Memphis working with the Tigers' tight ends and special teams.  In 2013, Rutlege worked with Memphis punter Tom Hornsey who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter.

Mizzou punter Corey Fatony was a Ray Guy Award candidate after 81 punts last year. Perhaps he can make the semi-finals with 2/3 the number this year.

Odom is feeling the Blues

Odom was in St. Louis Friday doing a fan meet and great at the St. Louis Blues game. The third day of Spring Practice kicks off Saturday morning at 9am. We'll try and pass along any updates.