Father: Injuries likely hindered prospects

Updated: April 25, 2005, 2:16 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Volunteers offensive tackle Michael Munoz decided to quit football after he was not chosen in the NFL draft over the weekend, his father, NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, said Monday.

The All-American started 46 games in his career despite injuries, including a torn rotator cuff that ended his senior year before the Southeastern Conference championship game in December.

Anthony Munoz said his son has not yet decided what he plans to do now.

"When you're not drafted, I think that's a pretty clear indication as Michael has said," Anthony Munoz told The Associated Press. "He'll tell you one door was closed and there's four or five other doors being opened at the same time. It's kind of a divine intervention here."

Michael Munoz, visiting with his family in Ohio, declined to be interviewed by telephone.

He told WNOX radio in Knoxville he is ready to move on.

"I had fun playing football. But I never found my identity playing football," he said. "Football isn't who I am. I knew the day would come when I'd have to walk away from the sport and I'm fine with that. Some people are so wrapped up in it they can't walk away because that's who they are. It's time to make a clean break."

Michael Munoz was one of the most highly regarded recruits in the country coming out of Moeller High School in Mason, Ohio.

He graduated early from Tennessee with a bachelor's degree in political science and started working on a master's in public administration last season.

He was awarded the Draddy Trophy as the nation's top scholar-athlete in December and received $25,000 in scholarship money. He is considering getting an MBA, his father said.

Michael's wife Emily will graduate from Tennessee nursing school this spring.

"The amazing thing about it is how well Michael and Emily are doing even as tough a blow as that was," Anthony Munoz said.

The elder Munoz believes injuries hurt his son's chances.

Michael Munoz, a team captain for two seasons, had to redshirt his second year at Tennessee because of a knee injury. He has missed some games with other injuries and played through pain at times.

"We were totally shocked that he did not get drafted. He started four years at Tennessee," Anthony Munoz said. "Knowing as many people in the NFL as I do, there was no inkling that that was going to happen."

Anthony Munoz, also an offensive tackle, was the Cincinnati Bengals' No. 1 pick out of Southern California in the 1980 draft.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press