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Former Aquinas QB Jake Zembiec has no regrets after leaving football

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Penn State QB stopped playing after shoulder injury, but continued to help Nittany Lions

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — On Saturday, four Rochester NFL hopefuls competed in a pro day to try and impress NFL scouts.

But the player there who at one point had the brightest path to the league was just helping out, former Aquinas quarterback Jake Zembiec.

Zembiec won two state titles with the Lil’ Irish and was a prized recruit, eventually committing to Penn State. However, a shoulder injury derailed his collegiate career before it could start and he never took a snap for the Nittany Lions.

After two years of rehabbing, he took a medical scholarship, ending his playing career.

“It honestly took a big weight off my shoulders when I stopped playing,” says Zembiec. “It was obviously a tough decision but to be able to stick around the team was my main priority. I didn’t want to leave the guys. I was able to even get a pretty big role on the team and continue to help and we won some games and won my last game there so everything worked out pretty good.”

Zembiec started assisting the coaching staff, continuing to work with his fellow teammates. During game day, he would help the team with the offensive signals due to his familiarity with the system.

“I’d been playing with injury for so long my heart was kind of taken out of the game and I didn’t really love playing anymore like I once did,” says Zembiec.

Zembiec was throwing passes to tight ends and receivers showing off their route-running skills and was happy to help out his fellow Rochester athletes.

“As you guys saw, I can’t throw nearly as well as I once used to,” he said with a smile. “But I just love being around these guys and I think it’s so cool watching them chase their NFL dreams.”

Don’t expect to continue seeing Zembiec on the sidelines anymore, as he is not pursuing a career in coaching. He is working to become a physical therapist, to help athletes with injuries like the one that ended his football career.

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