Justin Foster will no longer play football. The Clemson defensive end just announced his retirement due to complications with asthma after testing positive for COVID-19. He missed the entire 2020 season due to the COVID-19 symptoms.
"With sadness but no regret, I have decided it is in my best interest to call it a career and hang up football," he wrote in a statement which was posted on Twitter. "During my four years as a Clemson Tiger, I've always pursued success in the classroom and on the field while preparing and training with the highest competition standards, passion, and perseverance."
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Foster is feeling better than how he felt after contracting COVID-19 in August 2020. "He had a very tough fall," Swinney said, as reported by ESPN. "He's always had challenges with [asthma and allergies], but when he got COVID last summer, that really set him back." Foster was born with asthma, which has made physical activities more challenging.
"While my situation has improved, I am not in a position now, nor do I see that position soon, to step back on the field," he wrote. "The decision came after months of recovery and treatment, which required asking a lot of difficult questions about my future...While I still have a way to go, I feel confident I will fully recover."
Swinney asked Foster to stay on the team in hopes he would play down the road. Foster, who graduated last year, had a job opportunity, which led to him making the decision to call it a career. "I believe, as Coach Swinney says, that 'the best is yet to come,' Foster added. I think that is true for Clemson University, for the Clemson Tigers and my future. It's time to put everything Clemson has given me to work out there in my next journey.
Foster, who played defensive end for Clemson, was one of the team's top defenders in 2019, recording 10.5 tackles for loss. He also posted 4.5 sacks an pass breakup and a forced fumble in 15 games. His production in 2019 led to him being named to the All-ACC Honorable Mention Team. Foster was set to be a starter in 2020 but opted out due to the virus.