Texas sophomore running back Tre' Newton, son of former Dallas Cowboys lineman Nate Newton, announced Monday that he is giving up football after several concussions over his college and high school careers.
Newton missed last week's loss to Oklahoma State after sustaining a concussion in a loss to Kansas State on Nov. 6. Team doctors advised him to give up football to avoid long-term problems, Newton said.
Newton said the decision to quit football was his, but also said his father told him: "You have to think about the future because football is going to end someday."
"As much as I love football, this is one of the hardest decisions of my life," Newton said. "(But) football isn't forever."
Newton also sustained a concussion in 2009, but was still Texas' leading rusher that season with 552 yards. He had rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Newton said he had more than one concussion in high school. He will stay on scholarship and work to finish his degree in corporate communications.
"He's earned his scholarship here," coach Mack Brown said. "He's a great young man and leader."
Newton said he doesn't remember the play he got hurt against Kansas State. He did not practice last week and met with team doctors and his family a few hours before the Oklahoma State game to make his final decision.
Brown said Newton will remain close to the team and could help coach running backs next season.
"We try to get them in the mainstream (of the program) to rebuild their identity. Your concern you have is your friends won't look at you the same way. You were a guy who could help them win, now you can't do that anymore," Brown said.
Newton welcomed the chance to stay with his teammates, offering to help anyway he can "even if it's just running to give somebody water."
Texas senior wide receiver James Kirkendoll said the team didn't know of Newton's decision until Monday morning.
"He's a true teammate and a great football player," Kirkendoll said. "It's one of the tough things you have to deal with in this sport."
With Newton's career now over and senior Fozzy Whittaker nursing a sore shoulder, junior Cody Johnson is listed as the starter for Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic (4-5). Johnson leads Texas (4-6) with 361 yards and five touchdowns.
Texas must beat Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M to become bowl eligible and avoid the Longhorns' first losing season since 1997.