Delaware State product Gunter is forced to retire from NFL

For five seasons, Rodney Gunter beat the odds by making it in the NFL.

But now the former Delaware State standout’s career has apparently come to an end.

Rodney Gunter

The Jacksonville Jaguars put the 28-year-old Gunter on its reserve/retired list last month after the veteran defensive lineman was diagnosed with a serious heart condition.

“These last three weeks have been a hard pill to swallow,” Gunter said in a statement. “Seeing my dreams vanish right in front of me has been extremely difficult.

“After seeing several heart specialists I was told if I continue to play ball with my condition, I could possibly rupture or tear my aorta which is enlarged. This can cause sudden death or a severe stroke.”

Gunter said he was told there was a 50-50 chance that surgery could fix the problem. But he didn’t meet the criteria for the operation.

He needs to have a 5.5+ cm enlarged aorta, while his measures 5.0 cm.

“So at this moment, the best choice for me and my family is to walk away from this game,“ said Gunter. “I appreciate the Jaguars for giving me an opportunity, and I’m thankful for everyone who has believed in me along the way.”

Gunter was in his first year with the Jaguars after playing five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

“It’s just an awful feeling; it really is,” head coach Doug Marrone said when he announced Gunter’s decision. “It’s just tough.”

A fourth-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2015, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound Gunter played in 77 NFL games with 38 starts. He recorded 126 tackles, including 11 sacks.

Hornets working out

While they still may be months away from playing any games, Delaware State’s athletes went back to work on campus on Tuesday.

Six months after being able to hold any athletic workouts because of the coronavirus pandemic, DSU athletes hit the weight room while following medical guidelines.

Delaware State’s athletes were able to start working out on campus Tuesday after not being able to hold any athletic workouts because of the coronavirus pandemic. (DSU sports information)

The goal is for the athletes to work out for eight hours a week at this stage while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. DelState’s 450 student-athletes are also slated to have COVID-19 testing every week.

The current plan calls for the Hornets’ next athletic season to start in December with basketball.

Of course, DSU athletes have also been working out on their own during the shutdown and it shows said strength and conditioning coach Todd Riedel.

“We maintained great communications with the teams throughout the summer,” he told DSUhornets.com, “and although it’s difficult to match all that’s available in the weight room, I’m pleased with the work the athletes put in during the shutdown.”

Hens have six in NFL

For the second straight year, Delaware’s football program has the second-most players on active NFL rosters among FCS Division I teams.

The Hens have six players in the pros right, following only CAA rival James Madison, which has seven.

Former Delaware players on NFL rosters include Nasir Adderley (Chargers), Bilal Nichols (Bears), Troy Reeder (Rams), Joe Flacco (Jets), Nick Boyle (Ravens) and Zach Kerr (Panthers). Tight end Charles Scarff was released by Baltimore.

The Hens also still have Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy while former UD head coach Dave Brock is the receivers coach for the Atlanta Falcons.

DSU volleyball gets new digs

The Delaware State volleyball team’s locker room in Memorial Hall recently got an upgrade.

The room got new and expanded lockers, new carpeting and furniture, and a wide-screen television.

Donations from volleyball alumni, the Hornet Athletics Booster Club and several individuals and businesses paid for the project.

Senior outside hitter Mayah Ngundam is the longest-tenured player on the team.

“If you compare our locker room when I arrived here to what we have now, it’s like two different places,” Ngundam said. I am truly amazed and grateful to say the least.”

Notes

Former Wesley College standout offensive lineman Matt Gono has made the Atlanta Falcons’ roster for the third straight year. He is listed second on the depth chart at left tackle. … Current Wesley offensive lineman Brandon Bradford (second team) and linebacker Dante Daniel (third team) were both named to the D3football.com Preseason All-America team. … Delaware received votes in the STATS FCS preseason football poll. Led by No. 2 JMU, five CAA schools are ranked ahead of the Hens. … Both Delaware’s State women’s soccer and softball teams had 100 percent of their team members register to vote in the “HBCU All In” challenge.