COLUMBIA — Freshman offensive tackle Harneet Gill said Sunday that a past foot injury played a large part in his recent departure from Missouri’s football program.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“This injury somewhat caused a different type of mindset and caused me to lose passion for the game,” said Gill, three-star prospect from Francis Howell High School who grew up rooting for Missouri.
Gill, a 6 foot 6, 285-pounder who missed his entire senior season in high school due to a lisfranc fracture, said he’s been experiencing ongoing problems with the foot since he joined the team this summer. He had been rehabbing with the team and even participated in Missouri’s first preseason practice Thursday, but wore a non-contact jersey Friday. Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson said Gill sat out the practice because his foot was swelling up on him.
“The past foot injury was a huge factor,” said Gill, who sought out another medical opinion about potential treatment. “I think Coach (Gary) Pinkel knows that.”
Pinkel, who spoke during the team’s annual Fan Day on Sunday, said Gill decided to leave the team for personal reasons, per his standard policy. When asked if Gill had any injury issues, he said he didn’t, though he later reiterated that Gill left for personal reasons and he never discusses those.
But Gill said the injury, which happened at a high school practice last August, has been a nightmare to deal with.
“It happened almost a year ago,” Gill said of the injury. “It causes instability in the foot so you can’t balance on it, and that caused some discomfort. I had to get rehab done when I got to the program, and when I got to the program I failed my physical and was walking on the side of my foot, limping. I could hardly walk after practice.”
Gill, however, is ready for a fresh start. He said he now hopes to enroll at a community college where he can continue his rehab his own, and after he gets back to normal, he hopes re-evaluate his situation. He even left the door open for possibly landing another Division 1 scholarship.
“Football is not over for me,” said Gill, who thanked Henson and lead recruiter Cornell Ford. “I’m going to recover my foot and evaluate the situation. I wish the best of luck to Mizzou’s staff. I would still love to be a part of that…but I have received a lot of support from people. I’m not going to give up.”