Jim Mora addresses ‘unfortunate’ exchange between Breland Brandt, staff member

Head coach Jim Mora addressed redshirt freshman Breland Brandt‘s medical retirement Monday and the terse text message exchange the linebacker shared with a football staff member in which the staff member said Brandt “quit the team” when he was forced to retire due to concussions.

Mora said the exchange was “unfortunate” and was addressed with the staff member. It was not an assistant coach, Mora said.

“Not appropriate,” Mora said of the texts. “And our record here shows that we are, as I said, player safety is at a premium. I’ve gone back and looked at my exchanges with Breland, and they’ve all been very, very positive since the day he retired. And we just hope and pray that he can have a productive career here as a student at UCLA. And reach his passions and dreams off the football field. We want to make sure that we are always offering support, but it was an exchange that took place at I guess 3 in the morning. A poor choice of words, and it’s been addressed. That’s not really a part of what we do or how we talk. It never has been, and it really shouldn’t be.”

Brandt suffered his fourth concussion in three years during UCLA’s game against Hawaii on Sept. 9. Mora said the former four-star recruit tried to practice the following Tuesday, but was removed from the field when he started to feel concussive symptoms.

“He tried to fight through, which we tell these guys never to do. You can’t fight through a concussion,” Mora said in September. “Like all guys with head injuries, we’re just not going to play with it. I wish he’d have told me earlier but he’s one of those guys, like a lot of our guys, his comment to me was, ‘I didn’t want to let the team down.’ I love that, but not with head, neck and spine.”