Iowa linebacker Djimon Colbert stepping away from football

Colbert started two seasons for the Hawkeyes at weakside linebacker before sitting out the 2020 season.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa linebacker Djimon Colbert speaks at a press conference on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at the Pacha Family Club Room in Kinnick Stadium. Colbert answered questions regarding the current environment within the team and the growing communication between the players.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa linebacker Djimon Colbert started two seasons at weakside linebacker for the Hawkeyes before sitting out the 2020 season. Now, Colbert is stepping away from football.

Colbert told Rob Howe of Hawkeye Nation that he is moving on from the game and that he is “at peace with his decision.” Colbert was a redshirt junior this season and was entering his fifth year as part of the Hawkeye program.

“I don’t know if I can exactly put it into words,” Colbert told Hawkeye Nation. “I just had a lot of conflicting feelings. If football was really something that I wanted to pursue, I feel like I wouldn’t have those feelings pulling me back and forth.”

The Shawnee Mission, Kansas, native arrived in Iowa City in 2017, and after redshirting his freshman season started 10 games for the Hawkeyes at weakside linebacker in 2018. Colbert started all 13 games at that position for Iowa in 2019, although a shoulder injury hampered him during that season. Colbert tallied 113 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and an interception in 26 career games as a Hawkeye.

Colbert opted out of the 2020 season and “searched his soul during a year of social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Howe said.

With football no longer a focus, Colbert told Howe his attention is on earning his degree in Enterprise Leadership this spring.

In Colbert’s absence, Nick Niemann, who is now pursuing a career in the NFL, started at weakside linebacker for Iowa in 2020. Colbert likely would have competed for the starting spot that was once his had he returned to the Hawkeyes for the 2021 season.

Seth Benson started the 2020 season at middle linebacker for Iowa, but could slide into the weakside spot for the Hawkeyes next season. Jack Campbell is the presumed starter at middle linebacker for Iowa in 2021.

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