I can honestly walk away from the game with my head up. – Utah Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn's first day of retirement wasn't easy. The 22-year-old acknowledged it was difficult to be on the sidelines at practice knowing that his playing days were over.
Wynn decided to call it quits after getting injured in last Friday's 27-20 overtime loss at Utah State. It's the fourth time since the spring of 2010 that he suffered a shoulder injury.
"Football is a game I love. It's not an easy decision to make," Wynn said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "But at the same time it's tough to keep putting my body through this. It's a decision that was made with advice from a lot of people and hopefully it's the right one."
Besides consulting with the medical staff, Wynn sought input from his father and Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. It was ultimately decided, Wynn explained, that enough was enough and it was in the best interest of his future health to hang it up — adding that he'd like to be able to use his left arm later in life.
"I'm walking away with no regrets," Wynn said. "I can honestly walk away from the game with my head up."
Besides thanking the university and everyone associated with the program for the opportunity to play major college football on a full scholarship, Wynn expressed gratitude for being able to earn a bachelor's degree in economics.
"It's just been a great experience," Wynn said. "Obviously its not ideal how it ended."
Wynn was 14-7 as a starter at Utah. His 33 touchdown passes are the sixth-most in school history and his 4,637 career passing yards rank eighth. The junior from Oceanside, Calif., missed the last nine games of 2011 with a shoulder injury, but bounced back to reclaim his starting job this season — leading the Utes past Northern Colorado in the opener.
"I went out and tried as best as I could and worked hard and just in the end it's not meant to be," said Wynn, who wound up coming back from three surgeries in his career. "For whatever reason my shoulders just couldn't hold up. There's no kind of rhyme or reason."
Wynn became the Utes' starter over the final five games of his freshman season in 2009, capping things off with MVP honors in Poinsettia Bowl. He said the trophy sits on his nightstand at home and is one of the biggest highlights of his career at Utah.
Wynn will remain with the team for the rest of the season, assisting quarterbacks Jon Hays, Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz.
As Utah prepares for Saturday's game against rival BYU, Whittingham said that Hays and Wilson are competing for Wynn's job as the starter. Wynn, who has expressed an interest in pursuing a career in coaching, has confidence in both guys.
"I think either can get the job done," he said.
Reaction to Jordan Wynn's retirement
"Man, it's crazy. You can be playing football one minute and then everything can be gone the next. I don't really know how to put it in words. I can't imagine that happening to me. So it's definitely tough for him. I hope he knows that we're here and that we still need him here because he's a big part of this team, whether he plays or not." — Utah senior receiver DeVonte Christopher
"Jordan's a great person, he's a great player. My condolences go out to him. I love the guy. He helped me through a lot last season and we have a good relationship. I'm sure he's going to go on and do bigger and better things with his life. Definitely a disappointing thing for him, though." — Utah senior quarterback Jon Hays
"It's obviously a very unfortunate situation. I've known Jordan for a long time now and we've become extremely close over the past couple of years. I love him dearly. I love him like a little brother, so he's been a guy that I've seen grow up and mature as a man. I know this was a tough decision for him to make, but there comes a point and time for everybody when this game is going to end. It was just unfortunate for him that it didn't necessarily happen on his terms." — Utah offensive coordinator Brian Johnson
"I'm super sad for him. I'm really bummed that he had to cut his career here short . . . He's going to make a lot with the rest of his life. So I think he'll end up with a good situation later on." — Utah freshman quarterback Travis Wilson
"I can't say enough good things about the guy. He's won so many ballgames for us, given so much to this program, and we're just very appreciative for having him in the program and for the contributions that he made. From the day he stepped on campus he's been a guy that's all-in, 100 percent." — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham