Recapping the seven 49ers retirements since 2014
Calling it quits
There is no single thread that runs through each of the 49ers’ seven retirements that have taken place in less than two years' time. It might be an alarming number of players who decided to leave the 49ers, but each player stepped away for a different reason...
Marcus Lattimore -- Nov. 5, 2014
Lattimore attempted to make a return to football after a devastating knee injury ended his outstanding career at South Carolina. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh decided to roll the dice on Lattimore with a compensatory pick at the end of the fourth round in 2013. After sitting out his rookie season, he was able to practice in '14. But he was never able to get pain-free and return to the playing field.
Patrick Willis -- March 10, 2015
Willis mostly cited the condition of his feet for his decision to retire at 30. Willis made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven NFL seasons. But he was relegated to just six games in 2014 due to a season-ending foot injury. Those close to him also believe Willis simply stopped having fun. He seems to be thriving in his new role as board member and executive vice president for partnerships at Open Source Storage.
Chris Borland -- March 17, 2015
Borland shocked the football world and made national headlines due to his retirement at 24. Borland cited his concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head injuries. Borland was known to be passionate about football during his college days at Wisconsin. And he had an outstanding rookie season before announcing his surprising decision, which shed new light on potential risks of CTE in football.
Justin Smith -- May 18, 2015
Smith had been talking about retirement for years. At 35, Smith made it official. Smith said the pounding his body absorbed during his 14-year career caught up to him. His body was clearly breaking down. Smith had gotten to the point with the 49ers that he did not practice during the week in order to be able to play on Sundays. Last year, he returned to Missouri as assistant strength coach.
Anthony Davis -- June 5, 2015
Davis gave the 49ers late notice of his plan to step away from the game for an indefinite period of time. “I'm simply doing what's best for my body as well as my mental health at this time in my life,” Davis said. He had an injury-plagued 2014 season, including missing four games due to a concussion. Davis this week applied for reinstatement to attempt a comeback and resume his NFL career.
Jarryd Hayne -- May 15, 2016
Hayne left Australia’s National Rugby League to pursue an NFL career. He defied great odds to earn a spot as a running back/punt returner on the 49ers’ roster to open the 2015 season. But his lack of understanding of the game kept him on the sideline for much of his rookie year. Facing a tough battle to win a roster spot, Hayne announced he was quitting to pursue a spot on the Fiji rugby sevens Olympic team. He was not chosen for the squad.
Kaleb Ramsey -- July 28, 2016
Ramsey announced his retirement from football “to concentrate on other priorities in my life.” He played parts of six seasons in college due to injuries he sustained at Boston College. The 49ers took a seventh-round flier on him in 2014. He sustained a season-ending Achilles injury as a rookie. Last year, he was on the practice squad, but also served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He faced long odds to win a roster spot.