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Elite 1st-round prospect diagnosed with health condition that leaves his football future in limbo

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University of Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was not only projected to be a first-round pick in next month’s NFL draft, he was predicted by some to be one of the first defensive players selected overall.

But on Saturday, Hurst’s potentially lucrative NFL career may have come to an end.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter that Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition and will not participate in any additional drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The exact nature of the heart condition was not revealed. He is scheduled to undergo further testing to determine the severity of the problem and treatment options.

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NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported a source told him Hurst’s condition is similar to that of Nick Fairley, who was released by the New Orleans Saints in February after sitting out all of last season.  Fairley had been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Prior to Fairley’s diagnosis, however, he played six seasons in the NFL — four with Detroit, one with the Rams and one with New Orleans.

Fairley was diagnosed with an enlarged heart at the scouting combine in 2011, but was cleared to play.

Do you think Hurst will be drafted next month?

Whether Hurst will be cleared to resume his football career remains to be seen.

Even if Hurst is cleared to play, it’s very likely news of a heart condition will drop him out of the first round, as teams aren’t likely to invest millions of dollars in a player with a condition that could shorten his career.

Hurst was a consensus All-American last season for the Wolverines, recording 59 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks.

In his three years as a starter for Michigan, Hurst recorded 13.5 sacks and more than 30 tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus has Hurst listed as one of the top 10 prospects overall in the draft.

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NFL.com projected Hurst to be a first- or second-round pick.

“Has disruptive initial quickness when ball is snapped,” the site listed as Hurst’s strengths as a defensive lineman. “Bats away early punch attempts creating balance advantages. Light feet help him bounce from gap to gap challenging slow-footed linemen.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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