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Lineman Steve Elmer to forgo final year of eligibility

| Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Junior offensive lineman Steve Elmer will graduate early in May and forgo his final year of eligibility, Notre Dame announced Tuesday.

Elmer, who closed his Irish career with 27 consecutive starts as one of six players to start every game in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, will earn his degree in economics at the end of this semester and begin his professional life in Washington.

Irish junior offensive lineman Steve Elmer, left, looks to make a block during Notre Dame’s 44-28 loss to Ohio State on Jan. 1.Wei Lin | The Observer
Irish junior offensive lineman Steve Elmer, left, looks to make a block during Notre Dame’s 44-28 loss to Ohio State on Jan. 1. 

“While playing football for Notre Dame has been nothing short of an honor, I have been presented with an incredible opportunity to pursue a career doing something in which I have great interest, and at a great company to boot,” Elmer said in a letter written to Irish fans. “The experience of balancing Notre Dame’s academic rigors with my football commitments has given me a great foundation for my next endeavor.”

The Midland, Michigan, native said while he “poured everything into representing Notre Dame” as a member of the team, he’s ready to move on from football after three seasons.

“The excitement I feel about the professional opportunity in front of me has helped me to realize that I’m just ready to be done with football,” Elmer said. “I’ve been playing this game for many years, and quite honestly my heart is no longer in it.”

Irish head coach Brian Kelly referenced his staff’s recruiting pitch that Notre Dame is more about the four years in college when praising Elmer’s character.

“Notre Dame is a special place that develops unique and talented people,” Kelly said in a press release. “Steve Elmer is such a person. He chose Notre Dame to earn a degree from the top university in the world and play football at the highest level. He’s accomplished both and so much more.

“This is an incredible professional opportunity for Steve. We, as a coaching staff, talk about how attending Notre Dame isn’t a four-year decision; rather it’s a 40-year investment into your life. This University provides so many different avenues toward success, whether that’s on the football field or in the boardroom, and Steve’s another outstanding example.”

Elmer’s departure means the Irish will have to replace three starters on the offensive line, with graduate student Nick Martin exhausting his eligibility and senior Ronnie Stanley forgoing his final season to enter April’s NFL Draft. Sophomore Quenton Nelson and junior Mike McGlinchey are set to be the only returning starters.

Elmer said although making the call to leave Notre Dame wasn’t easy, it was the correct decision for him.

“If this sounds like it was a difficult decision for me, you would be right,” Elmer said. “My time at Notre Dame is something I will always cherish, leaving me with the best of friends and countless memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I owe so much to this University, not only for giving me the chance to play on college football’s biggest stage and preparing me for life beyond the game but for helping to make me the man I am today. All I ask from you is that you trust me when I say I know that I have made the right decision.”

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