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NFL's (and Taravella's) Morgan retires

Oft-injured NFL linebacker Dan Morgan, who signed with the Saints this offseason, called it quits Monday.

And although he's better-known as yet another a UM-star-turned-Pro Bowler, Morgan has an even more local connection: He's a Coral Springs kid who played his high school football at Taravella -- much of it at running back (the Canes even reportedly recruited him at that position).

Check out this excerpt from an old Herald roundup, circa September 1996:

The county's leading rusher displayed his durability and consistency when he carried the ball 249 times for 1,332 yards last year without a fumble. This summer, he worked with a trainer to increase his strength and speed. Morgan, who is 6-3 and 217 pounds, gained about 15 pounds and dropped his 40 time to 4.4. On defense, he will switch from inside linebacker to free safety. Florida, Florida State and Miami all have offered him a scholarship.

Of course, according to the archives, Morgan's injury propensity would show up during that 1996 senior season, with collarbone and toe ailments. He did rebound, becoming the 11th overall pick in 2001 (Panthers) and earned a 2004 Pro Bowl bid. But concussions and, ultimately, a leg injury cut his career short. From today's AP story:

"When we signed Dan, he was committed to making a fresh start, and he was making every effort to rehabilitate the leg injury that he suffered last year," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "But it wasn't responding as well as he had hoped. We wish him well in his continued recovery, and he will be remembered for the excellent player he was during his career."

--Patrick Dorsey (e-mail)