David Pollack is an American retired professional football player who appeared in two seasons of the US ‘National Football League’ (NFL) as a defensive linebacker for the ‘American Football Conference’ (AFC) north-division team ‘Cincinnati Bengals.’ His promising ‘NFL’ career was snatched away prematurely in the mid-2000s due to a debilitating spine injury, which he suffered while playing the second match of his second season of ‘NFL’ football. Earlier, he had played college football at the ‘University of Georgia’ and was widely regarded as the best nationwide collegiate defender during that time. His total of 36 sacks in three seasons for the ‘Georgia Bulldogs’ remains a career record at his alma mater to this day, which is also the third-highest career sacks by any player in ‘National Collegiate Athletic Association’ (NCAA) history. Pollack also became the second ‘Georgia’ player to be named to the ‘All-American’ first-team for three collegiate seasons. Overcoming the trauma of an abrupt and physically, mentally, and emotionally painful end to a short but bright career in professional football, he spent the next decade building a niche for himself as a sports broadcaster and an anti-obesity activist.
Professional Career as Player & Broadcaster
Pollack was drafted by the Ohio ‘NFL’ team ‘Cincinnati Bengals’ as a 17th overall in the first round of the 2005 ‘NFL Draft.’ In his rookie season in 2005, he spent the first five games on the bench as a reserve. His first look-in came in the form of a starting spot at his preferred position of linebacker. Even though he missed two more games after that, on account of a knee injury, he still stood second in the season, on the team’s defense roster, with 4.5 sacks, 22 tackles, and 6 assists.
He started the 2006 season as a ‘Bengals’ first-pick, but on September 17, 2006, in the first quarter of the second game of the season against state rivals ‘Cleveland Browns,’ he suffered a broken cervical vertebrae while tackling running-back Reuben Droughns. He was stretched away from the field conscious and luckily did not suffer a paralysis. Later, he underwent surgery to fuse two vertebrae into one. He was in a halo brace for 3 months thereafter.
Although there were hopeful media reports of a comeback, contingent to a smooth rehabilitation process throughout the next 2 years, Pollack’s return kept getting delayed repeatedly. A July 2007 press release announced that he would not play in the 2007 ‘NFL’ season at all. On April 22, 2008, the ‘Bengals’ head coach, Marvin Lewis, announced Pollack’s retirement from all professional football, citing recovery issues.
After his ‘NFL’ dream was cut short by this career-ending injury, Pollack ventured into a new role, as a sports broadcaster. In 2008, he did some studio work for ‘CBS’ and hosted a sports radio talk-show for the Atlanta based ‘790 The Zone.’
In June 2009, he joined ‘ESPN’ as a college football analyst. He has since contributed to a variety of programs on the network, including their flagship project, ‘SportsCenter.’ He has also been an analyst on ‘ESPN’s ‘Thursday Night College Football’ and has co-hosted the ‘Palmer & Pollack Show’ on ‘ESPNU.’
Pollack was part of the eight-time ‘Emmy’-winning sports show ‘College GameDay’ in 2011. He has been a regular contributor to ‘ESPN’s daily news show ‘College Football Live.’ He has also made several other TV studio appearances throughout the collegiate season.
In 2013, reacting to the news that former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice could be appointed to the ‘College Football Playoff’ selection committee, Pollack suggested on national TV that women were not qualified for the job. In an October 5, 2013 tweet, he clarified, “I want people on the committee that eat, sleep & breathe college football during the season. It has nothing to do with male or female.”
Awards & Achievements
Besides his ‘All-American’ and ‘All-SEC’ accolades for three consecutive collegiate seasons, Pollack also has to his credit the 2002 and 2004 ‘Southeastern Conference’ football individual awards, the 2003 and 2004 ‘Ted Hendricks Awards,’ the 2004 ‘Chuck Bednarik Award,’ the 2004 ‘Lott Trophy,’ and the 2004 ‘Lombardi Award’.
In June 2019, it was announced that the former ‘University of Georgia’ linebacker would be a nominee for the 2020 ballot for the ‘College Football Hall of Fame.’ Pollack is also a ‘Florida’ vs. ‘Georgia’ derby hall-of-famer.
Family & Personal Life
David is married to Lindsey Pollack, who was admittedly his first and only girlfriend. They got married on May 21, 2005, and have two kids, a son named Nicholas and a daughter named Leah. The family stays in Athens, Georgia, where Pollack loves to spend the college football off-season with his wife and kids.
In an interview given to ‘Mensfitness.com,’ he revealed how his wife had helped him correct his diet by making healthy and conscious eating a family affair, which led to him shedding 77 pounds to weigh about 220 pounds, down from the 297 odd pounds he weighed after his ‘NFL’ injury (which had exercised major constraints on his physical fitness and had resulted in unwanted weight-gain).
Immediately after retirement, Pollack floated a sports-banner manufacturing company named ‘FanBan.’ It focuses on college football team-merchandise. In February 2008, ‘FanBan’ events raised money for ‘YMCA’s scholarships for underprivileged children who participate in their programs.
On February 18, 2016, the ex-‘NFL’ player launched the ‘Pollack Family Foundation,’ with the slogan “Whole. Life. Health.” They have partnered with two Atlanta, Georgia-based charities, the ‘Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Strong4Life’ and ‘C.H.O.I.C.E.S.,’ both known for their grassroots work in combating childhood obesity.