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Marcus Lattimore explains why he's 'thankful' for devastating knee injuries

Former South Carolina Gamecocks star Marcus Lattimore was once one of the best players in the country, and seemed like a surefire first-round NFL Draft pick with the potential to have a stellar NFL career. As a true freshman in 2010 Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns and made the All-SEC first team.

A series of brutal knee injuries and multiple surgeries during his sophomore and junior years derailed Lattimore's career, and though he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Lattimore never appeared in a game.

Less than six years after he arrived in Columbia and became one of the most electifying players in the nation, Lattimore has made peace with the fact that his playing career was cut short at the age of 23. In an inspiring ESPN story, Lattimore says that his injuries have been a blessing.

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Via ESPN:

"Life is a little bit more enjoyable now because of what I've been through. I wouldn't change a thing that happened - put those knee injuries back in my life. I'm such a better person, overall. I'm wiser and I'm grateful for every single day that I get out of bed and I can walk, and I can run if I want to. The little things, they matter a little bit more than they did in the past."

Lattimore graduated from USC earlier this month, and he'll return to the sideline this fall as a coach at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School.

"I'm thankful for those knee injuries. They really saved me and now I feel like I can do anything. Every time I go speak, every time I'm able to stand in front of a crowd, I heal personally."

You can read the entire story here.