Rick:When you suffered your second knee injury, I remember thinking my first thoughts, I don't care if Marcus Lattimore ever plays another down of football. I just want him to walk without a limp and to be able to play with his children and grandchildren. At what point during this whole process did you think that maybe that was going to be it for you and football?
Marcus: Probably about three weeks before I retired. You know I came in there when I was at the San Francisco 49'ers, I worked hard every day.I tried to stay optimistic, put a smile on my face, but the pain I was going through, I just couldn't take it no more.It was painful to run, it was painful to cut. I tried to stay positive through it all, but you know, unfortunately, I had to let go."
Rick: What are you going to miss most about playing football?
Marcus: (Long Pause) That feeling. You know..right before you touch the ball. You're nervous, you're anxious, you're excited, but you know nothing else matters in that moment. You know that one moment when you're about to touch the ball. You take that first hit and all those jitters just go away...and that was the best feeling. So just the anxiousness (pause) everything leading up to the game, it's just a great feeling.
Rick: Do you think anything can replace that feeling? Are you going to be looking for..I don't know..that rush you get running out to 2001?
Marcus: Oh nothing will ever replace that...nothing. Aw, but you know, My faith in Christ. I have a great family. I have a great life. Football was good to me. I had a lot of great times. I got a bunch of records. I got a bunch of touchdowns. I mean, I had a great time playing football, it's time to move on.
Rick: Yolanda, Are weekends going to be less stressful for you now because you're not going to have to close your eyes and hold your breath every time Marcus touches the football?
Yolanda: Most definitely..and the fact he made the decision himself and not me saying you can't play anymore, that's enough, this is tearing me up inside. I put on a brave face as much as I could...but everytime he hit the field...all i wanted was the clock to hit...I don't know why 30 seconds, but 30 seconds...I felt like he was good in a game. But you know what... through all of it and no matter what so much good has come out of it with us forming a foundation to help others through the adversity that we've been through. And knowing exactly what the people we're going to be able to help have already been through, we can do so much more, and the Marcus Lattimore foundation is doing amazing things.
Vernon: We want kids to use athletics and not let athletics use them. To stop devauling their scholarship opportunities by taking easier courses because they feel like they're going to the NBA in three years so it don't matter what I take or I'm going to take something easy because I'm going to leave anyway. And then when they have to fall back on their degree because it didn't work out or because you got hurt and you had to retire and you have to fall back on your degree.
Is there anything you'd change at all about your experiences at Carolina, the path that your life took?
Marcus: Not one because I'm a better man. I'm a better person because of what I went through. I knew none of that would have happened, the way it happened. I would have came a long way, but I mean I feel like I wouldn't be the person I am today. And I'm so grateful for every blessing I have today. I have a great life.