Report: Decker to have surgery, ending his career as a Gopher

Marco LaNave

Eric Decker will have surgery next Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., to fix a sprained arch in his left foot, ending his career as a Gopher, according to a Star Tribune report that was confirmed by Gophers spokesman Andy Seeley.

The report said full recovery was expected for Decker in six to nine months, which would eliminate the chance of Decker playing in a potential bowl game.  The 2010 NFL draft is in about six months.

Seeley said in an e-mail Friday that Brewster said on his Thursday radio show that Decker would have surgery.

Brewster said Tuesday that surgery would mean Decker would be out “for an extended period of time.” If no surgery took place, the Gophers hoped to have Decker return for a possible bowl game, Brewster said.

Decker sprained his left foot in the first quarter at Ohio State last Saturday on his final reception, a sideline catch that went for 16 yards and a Gophers first down.  He returned for one play before sitting out the rest of the game.

Decker ends his career with 227 receptions and 3,119 receving yards, both Gophers records.  His 11 career 100-yard receiving games are tied for the most all-time, and his 24 touchdown receptions rank third in program history.  Last season, despite a high-ankle sprain that limited his production over the final three regular season games, Decker set a Gophers single-season record with 84 receptions, and his 1,074 receiving yards were the second highest single-season total.

On Thursday, Decker was named a 2009 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete.  He is one of 16 NCAA and NAIA football players to receive the award, which gives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship to each student-athlete.  The 16 award recipients are finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the country.