Late word from Iowa City last night: Senior-to-be defensive back Willie Lowe has requested his release, and will leave the Iowa football program effective immediately. Lowe was one of thirteen players hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis in January, due to a strenuous squat workout. According to current reports, Lowe is still twenty pounds lighter than he was before his hospitalization, is suffering from frequent headaches, and only returned to team workouts this week. He will undergo an independent medical examination to determine if he can play again; Lowe told ESPN's Joe Schad that he would like to sit out a year and, if possible, return to the field.
Lowe's case may be unique; as a senior, if he felt he needed a year off to recover despite being medically cleared to play, he would either have to talk the coaches into giving him a redshirt (in a year where Iowa will be breaking in two safeties) and likely lose his chance to start in 2012, or transfer and spend his year recuperating. And as bad as the Lowe transfer is for the secondary, his comment that "only a few players are back to full speed" is even worse for the program. If the guys reported to be involved -- a list that includes more than a few potential starters -- aren't able to go at 100% through spring practices, that's a year of lost development and twelve more potential transfers. Lowe can be replaced; the "rhabdo thirteen" cannot.