Linebacker DeVonte Holloman stood on the practice field in his familiar 57 jersey. His locker remained untouched.
But Holloman learned this week that his career likely is over.
Holloman, 23, declined to talk to the media Thursday, but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed the bad news at his press conference.
“DeVonte got information back from the doctors in San Antonio, and some other doctors he visited with regarding his neck, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to play football anymore,” Garrett said. “…It’s in relation to the injury that he had last year. I think he had a similar injury this year. They are related, and it is neck-related. The information that we have doesn’t look that he’s going to be able to play football any longer.”
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Holloman, a sixth-round pick last year, started two games and played in nine. He missed seven games last season with a spinal contusion and re-injured his neck with 6:34 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Ravens game last Saturday.
“It’s a neck injury, and you can’t mess around with neck injuries,” safety Barry Church said. “You’ve got your whole life ahead. He is a young guy. I know it’s tough, but some young guys are going to have to step up in his place and let him know we have his back no matter what.”
Holloman had been expected to be in the mix to replace injured middle linebacker Sean Lee, as he did last season. In starting the final two games of last season, Holloman had 17 tackles and two sacks.
Rookie Anthony Hitchens took first-team snaps at middle linebacker Thursday. Justin Durant and Rolando McClain also have spent time with the first team at that position as the Cowboys continue to try to find the right combination of linebackers with Lee, and now Holloman, gone for the year.
“It’s definitely a sad moment,” Hitchens said. “I actually reached out to him [Wednesday] and gave him a text. I’ve known him for a couple of months here. He’s a good guy. It’s just sad to see things like that happen. I just wish the best for him.”