Florida OL Rod Johnson retires due to spinal condition

Dr. Saturday
Sep 13, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators offensive linesman Roderick Johnson (55) celebrates with fans after they beat the Kentucky Wildcats during overtime at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 36-30 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators offensive linesman Roderick Johnson (55) celebrates with fans after they beat the Kentucky Wildcats during overtime at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 36-30 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Roderick Johnson’s career at Florida is over.

Johnson, a redshirt sophomore offensive tackle, was diagnosed with “congenital cervical stenosis” by Florida’s medical staff. Per GatorZone.com, the condition is “a narrowing of the spinal canal enveloping the spinal cord, preventing enough fluid to gather around the spinal cord to properly protect it from injury.”

Johnson first showed signs of the condition when he suffered what was thought to be a stinger on April 3 during a scrimmage. The 6-foot-6, 296-pound Johnson felt a numbness in his fingers and hands and was held out of the rest of spring practice while undergoing further examination.

After undergoing an MRI, meeting with specialists and consulting with team doctors, “it was recommended Johnson retire from the sport.”

Cervical stenosis also ended the careers of former New York Giants running back David Wilson and Ole Miss wide receiver Cooper Manning, the brother of Peyton and Eli Manning

Florida head coach Jim McElwain hinted after Saturday’s spring game that Johnson’s career was likely over. McElwain also said that he would “never” put Johnson or another player “out there in harm’s way.”

“Life’s too short, man,” McElwain said. “Ain’t gonna do it, ain’t gonna do it to a young guy.”

Johnson, who started three games and played in 12 for the Gators last season, was expected to be a starter for the Gators at offensive tackle in 2015.

Quarterback Treon Harris said Saturday that Johnson not being able to play is a “big loss” for the Gators.

The Gators suited up just six scholarship offensive lineman on Saturday, but have six true freshmen linemen joining the program this summer.

For more Florida news, visit InsideTheGators.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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