Penn State Football

Tight end Adam Breneman’s career ends due to chronic knee injury

Penn State tight end Adam Breneman watches his teammates warm up from the side lines of the 2014 game against Akron at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State tight end Adam Breneman watches his teammates warm up from the side lines of the 2014 game against Akron at Beaver Stadium. Centre Daily Times, file

Penn State tight end Adam Breneman’s football career is over, he and the university announced on Thursday.

A chronic knee injury will force the Mechanicsburg native to hang up his cleats for good. The announcement came three years and a day after Breneman enrolled at Penn State.

“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 via release. “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 graduated in just three years in December with a degree in business management and will pursue professional opportunities in business or politics this spring, said the athletic department’s statement.

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.

Penn State tight end Adam Breneman, in open letter released on PennLive

“I know that it was a difficult for Adam to step away from the game, but he felt it was the right time,” Franklin said. “We are so proud of his work in the classroom, having earned his degree in three years. Adam is a special young man that has left his imprint on not only the Penn State football program, but the Penn State community at large. He has been a difference maker at a very young age and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Breneman’s promising freshman year in 2013, in which he played in 11 games and had 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns, helped him become a fan favorite as many in the Penn State community hoped for his return after an ACL tear.

The tight end penned a very personal and heartfelt letter, released exclusively on PennLive.com, expressing his gratitude to those who have stuck by him as he’s battled injury. The full letter can be found on PennLive.com.

“What an exciting few years it has been,” he wrote. “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 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. ...

“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.”

Breneman went on to thank all those who have supported and continue to support him, including his doctors and athletic trainers.

“I have always said that what makes Penn State such a special place is the people,” he wrote. “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.”

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