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Rashad Weaver thanks Pitt, explains absence from game against Georgia Tech

Pitt defensive end Rashad Weaver was not among the players in attendance for Pitt’s final game of the season on Thursday night, as he did not travel with the team to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. On Friday afternoon, he provided an explanation for his absence from the game and thanked the Pitt community for its support throughout his five-year collegiate career.

“Football means the world to me, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever been through was missing the entire 2019 season due to a knee injury,” Weaver wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “That’s why I worked incredibly hard at my rehabilitation, even when the pandemic shut down our campus. I didn’t just want to play my senior year, I wanted to play my very best for my Pitt brothers and coaches.”

“Playing college football while working on my MBA, I understood the importance of planning,” Weaver continued. “Knowing that our regular season was scheduled to be over on Nov. 28, and bowl games being very uncertain, I made a detailed plan to begin postseason recovery and training the first week of December. The Georgia Tech game was supposed to be played in early November but unexpectedly got postponed to the middle of December.”

“It was a very difficult decision, but knowing what it’s like to potentially lose all your dreams due to a knee injury in practice, I ultimately decided to stick to my original plans to best prepare myself for the combine. I am forever grateful for my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Pittsburgh’s support over the past five years and now, as I turn my focus to preparing for the 2021 NFL draft.”

The 6’5”, 270-pound defensive end is considered a potential first-round selection in the upcoming NFL draft, according to multiple analysts, and he is one of several Pitt defenders who are the subject of such lofty expectations, along with Paris Ford and fellow defensive end Patrick Jones II. Even so, Weaver will look to improve his draft stock by taking part in the Senior Bowl in January alongside Pitt safety Damar Hamlin in late January.

This season, in a comeback year from an ACL tear that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season, Weaver came up with a career-high 14.5 tackles for.losses that led the team and currently ranks third in the nation. He also ranked second on the team behind Jones in sacks, with 7.5, despite playing in just nine of 11 games. But it was not a breakout year for Weaver, just a return to form, as he led Pitt with 14 tackles for losses and 6.5 sacks in 2018.

Weaver’s next appearance on the field will come on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Alabama, when he takes part in the Senior Bowl. Afterward, he will likely head to Indianapolis to take part in the NFL combine. However, dates for the event have not been announced. And the result of all of his preparation will be revealed during the NFL draft, which is set to start on April 29.