IRVING, Texas — Injured Cowboys linebacker DeVonte Holloman spoke to the media Monday for the first time since being advised to give up playing football because of a neck injury.
For Holloman, it was the next step in the process of coming to grips with the fact his playing days are over.
"Considering my health and my family, it’s an easy decision [to give up football], but it will be tough to not be out there," Holloman said. "The hard part about it is being functional, as in everyday life, but not being able to play."
Holloman originally suffered a spinal contusion in his neck last season as a rookie and missed seven games. He re-injured his neck in the second preseason game against Baltimore and knew immediately that his career was probably over.
"My arms locked up when I made contact with the guy," Holloman said. "It was scary for me. And just frustrating."
Holloman had several medical evaluations last week but the advice was the same: give up football.
"I knew it was the same injury as last year, and I was told if it happened again it might be the end," Holloman said. "So in the back of my mind, I kind of knew what was going to happen so I halfway kind of prepared myself."
After it became clear his playing career was over, Holloman stood on the side-lines at practice last week still wearing his jersey.
"The guys, for the day that I was out here at practice, they treated me like nothing was wrong, like I was still out there with them," Holloman said. "That was a good feeling."
Holloman said the Cowboys organization has been great about helping him begin the transition to retirement. He said he will go home and visit family, but has not settled on any plans for life after football yet.
"It was a dream fulfilled," said Holloman, who was a sixth-round draft pick in 2013 out of South Carolina. "I got to be out here for a year and play against guys that I watched on TV and play with guys that I watched. I learned a lot over this year."
He said the hardest part of the transition will be watching his former team-mates play without him.
"I just watched the past preseason game and I was jittery," Holloman said. "My daughter and my girlfriend were trying to be around me and I was just into the game. It’ll be hard but I’m still rooting for these guys out here and I’m a Cowboys fan for life."