FROM HOLLYWOOD – Just as Jaimie Bryant’s Washington Huskies football career was beginning, it came to an end.
UW coach Chris Petersen told a handful of reporters during lunch at Thursday’s Pac-12 media day that Bryant, a freshman defensive lineman from Tumwater, will take a medical retirement after doctors discovered an apparently serious back injury during the offseason.
Petersen said Bryant will likely remain in the program in some capacity, and as is customary with medical retirements, he will remain on scholarship throughout his academic career at UW.
“We’ll figure out a role where he helps us in the video department, or as a manager or something,” Petersen said.
Bryant originally signed a national letter of intent in 2013 under former coach Steve Sarkisian, but grayshirted and delayed his enrollment until spring quarter of 2014. He joined the Huskies in time for the second portion of spring practices this year after spending his year off in the weight room, bulking up to 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds by the time he arrived at UW.
He began feeling some numbness in his hamstring toward the end of spring practices, Petersen said, and further evaluation revealed the problem was actually in his back.
“He never had any problems in high school,” Petersen said. “He started having problems after spring ball, late in spring ball, was having some numbness. They finally did an MRI, and (they said) ‘this is not good.’ So they really advised him that he shouldn’t play anymore.
“He didn’t even think it was his back. He thought it was his hamstring. But it was coming from his back. … Such a bummer. That’s the thing that just breaks your heart. Just crushing.”
Bryant was a standout defensive tackle, tight end and running back at Tumwater High School, where he helped the Thunderbirds to the 2A state championship as a sophomore in 2010 and helped them to a return trip to the title game in 2012 as a senior. He was also named to the Olympian and News Tribune all-area teams that year.
Williams, others should be ready
Petersen said senior receiver Kasen Williams, who suffered a broken leg in late October that kept him out of spring practices, should be ready to go when the Huskies begin preseason camp on Aug. 4.
Offensive linemen Micah Hatchie and Dexter Charles – both of whom missed spring practices due to injury – should also be available when camp begins. Same for running backs Dwayne Washington and Jesse Callier.
Kikaha, Riva cool with Sark
With Sarkisian, now coach at USC, in close proximity this week with UW player representatives Ben Riva and Hau’oli Kikaha, the former colleagues had a chance to talk for a bit.
Kikaha, a fifth-year senior outside linebacker, said all is well between him and his former coach. He even tended to agree with Sarkisian’s comparison between leaving UW and breaking up with a girlfriend – though it sounds like this split was relatively amicable.
“He’s still cool. We had a good talk,” Kikaha said. “We’ve met his family, we know his family, we know some of his friends, things like that. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s no bad blood. It’s all cool. Everybody knows we want the best for each other and things like that.”
Go home, coach
One mandate Petersen issues to his assistant coaches: no sleeping in the office.
He wants his staff healthy and alert each day, and part of that plan involves making an attempt to send everyone home each day by 10 p.m.
Petersen said he averages about six hours of sleep per night during the season.
“In my groove, I’m more of a nine-hour guy,” he said.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple