Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jason Blissett is retiring from football, he announced on Monday evening.
Blissett made the announcement in a video message on his Instagram account.
“I’m medically retiring from football because of my head issues,” Blissett said. “I can’t work out anymore. It’s hard for me to lift and stuff like that. I’m not trying to cry, but it’s been hard not to do everything really.”
Blissett, who played in nine games as a reserve and recorded seven tackle this past season for the 8-3 Hurricanes after recording two tackles in one game in 2019, explained his situation in a heart-felt message:
“I want to start off by saying I wasn’t planning on telling a lot of people. I’ve been in my head a lot and this past week has probably been one of the craziest weeks of my life. I’m not making this (video) for any sympathy from anybody, not looking for anything like that. I don’t feel like I’m trying to explain myself or anything like that. I’m making this (video) to really just reach out to other athletes at the collegiate level, high school level and even the young ones who have dreams of actually going somewhere with this.
“Football has done a lot for me and it has put me in a position to meet a lot of people, experience a lot of things and make a lot of friends. There’s a lot that comes with it that doesn’t get talked about enough–I don’t know if I’m going to get in trouble with Miami, but it’s not for them. It’s for the people I’m talking to. I’ve been struggling a lot with my own head injuries and if you’ve followed my since high school I’ve had multiple concussions. It’s obviously something very common in the football world and it definitely does take a toll on you mentally, emotionally as far as your relationships go with everybody. You see things different. Your relationship with your family becomes different, your relationship with your friends becomes different, everything just becomes different. And you’re a football player so you have to be a tough guy. You’re supposed to be enjoying it and embracing it. It’s OK not to be OK.
“Talking from my personal experience I find it hard to talk to people. I find it hard to have a normal life outside of football. I’ve been playing since I was seven so all that it’s done for me, I don’t know what I would have done without it. It’s done a lot for me. Once again I didn’t plan on telling people this because it’s not their business. It’s for other people. I’m medically retiring from football because of my head issues. I can’t work out anymore. It’s hard for me to lift and stuff like that. I’m not trying to cry, but it’s been hard not to do everything really. I don’t feel like the same person–I’m OK as far as a mental state and not saying something bad is going to happen to me. I’m just talking about the troubles I go through with my head situation.
“It’s just hard to deal with and football right now is a burden that I can’t deal with and it hurts. It really hurts a lot and it hurts to walk away from it. I’ve done it my whole life. It just sucks. And I feel I owe it to people who are fans of me and have seen me play on the field. I owe it to you all to tell you the truth and once I say it now it makes it better. It makes it more real. It makes me feel like I’m going to be OK. For all of the athletes and all of the people playing football, that’s not all you’re about. You’re so much more than that. Find a passion aside from football that you like to do whether it’s music, clothes, it doesn’t even have to be school, you don’t have to be a doctor or lawyer, you can do what you want to do. You can be you, you can be your normal person, you don’t have to take this too far. You may feel you have people depending on you and the biggest letdown is feeling like you’re letting them down, but the right people are going to stay around for the right reasons.
“I just hope people stay in my corner. I hope people will still support me, will still appreciate me as a person aside from not being a football player. I’m sure God has something great planned for me. I know I’ve been distant a lot lately and it’s been hard to talk to me or even get in touch with me, but it’s all coming from somewhere. People that know me, know that I’m a very genuine person and I’m a very loving person. I just want to love everybody. I just want to be cool with everybody and I want things to be OK.
“I’m medically retiring from football, but I’m still a Cane all the way. I’ll be supporting my boys 100 percent. Tune in against Bama. I like us against anybody. I don’t care. The best d-line in the country, the best o-line in the country, the best quarterback–all of that, best specialists in the country. It’s the ‘U’, I don’t care. I love them boys for real. They’re going to put on without me. I know that. I’ll be on the sideline or whatever I can do or screaming my head off in my room, I don’t care. You’re going to hear me definitely. Just love always, love everybody, Bliss out.”
Teammates showed their support of Blissett upon hearing the news:
“The story just getting started brudda,” Brevin Jordan responded.
Blissett is a former four-star recruit in the 2019 class from Queens, N.Y. who showed promise as a young player. Recently-hired defensive line coach Jess Simpson was encouraged by what he had learned about Blissett, who had split time at defensive end and defensive tackle since his arrival, but Simpson felt he, and Elijah Roberts, were two guys who could excel at defensive tackle.
“They are inside guys, no doubt,” Simpson said. “Those are the athletic, penetrating, three-technique bodies that I have recruited and wanted here. You obviously want size and strength, but we value movement skills and the ability to redirect.”
The Hurricanes are set to begin spring practices on March 13. They will now have six defensive tackles competing in the spring.