David Pollack Biography
Along with Herschel Walker, UGA Defensive End David Pollack will go down as one of the most decorated, and beloved figures in Bulldogs history.
Pollack grew up in Snellville, Georgia, and was gathering awards beginning at the high school level. He was a standout in football, basketball and wrestling. In his senior year, he was a Class 5A All-State selection on the gridiron and was named the Atlanta Touchdown Club’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Pollack took his talents down the road to Athens, even though he was not one of the more heralded recruits Georgia had on their list. However, he got the coaches attention in the 2002 game against South Carolina by making a play that to this day is difficult to comprehend.
The Dawgs had not scored a touchdown in over 46 minutes of play against the Gamecocks, but Pollack changed that. As USC quarterback Corey Jenkins rolled out to pass from his seven-yard line, Pollack broke through two blockers. As Jenkins cocked his arm to throw, Pollack lunged toward him and all in one motion snatched the ball from his hand as it was coming forward and fell to the grass clutching the ball in his hands. It was one of the most electrifying plays ever seen from a player wearing the red and black.
On the Gamecocks' final drive of the game, Pollack kept South Carolina from scoring the winning touchdown. He tipped two passes on the last drive, and then tripped Jenkins up to set up fourth down with just seconds to go in the game.
On the fourth down play, with USC at the UGA goal line, Pollack got into Jenkins' face and forced him to make an errant pitch that was fumbled, and the Dawgs escaped with a heart stopping 13-7 victory.
In all, Pollack had eight total tackles, two for a loss, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass deflection.
The win over South Carolina, as well as a last minute victory over Auburn, gave the Bulldogs the 2002 SEC Championship, which was their first in twenty years. The following year, they made it two straight Eastern Division Championships. Pollack was a big reason why Georgia was the team to beat as he anchored a stingy defense that brought the Dawgs back into national prominence.
When he finished his career, the list of awards was staggering. He became only the second three time All-American in school history. In addition, he was named the 2002 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and captured the Ted Hendricks Award in back to back seasons (2003-04). In 2004, Pollack was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the year, the Chuck Bednarik and Lombardi Award winner and was awarded the Lott Trophy.
Pollack ended his college career with an all-time UGA record of 36 sacks.
After his playing days ended between the hedges, Pollack was selected 17th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, just as Pollack’s career was taking off in the NFL, he suffered a serious neck injury. It turned out that he had broken the sixth cervical vertebrae when he tackled Cleveland Browns running back Reuben Droughns. He suffered no paralysis, but was taken off the field on a stretcher and underwent surgery and was forced to wear a halo brace for three months.
Pollack contemplated a return to the NFL in 2007, but was forced to sit out the season to rehabilitate his neck. Finally, in April of 2008, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis announced that Pollack was "not completely comfortable where he [was] medically" and that he would retire.
Pollack turned a negative into a positive as he used his knowledge of football to become an afternoon sports talk host on Atlanta's 790 The Zone. He also does television work for CBS and ESPNU's college football coverage.
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