When linebacker Patrick Willis unexpectedly retired last week, some 49ers fans took solace in the presence of linebacker Chris Borland, who had a stellar rookie season.
Now, Borland is retiring, too.
Via ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Borland says he’s calling it quits after one season due to concerns over the long-term impact of head injuries.
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland said. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk. . . .
“I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve ever been, for me it’s wanting to be proactive. I’m concerned that if you wait [until] you have symptoms, it’s too late. . . . There are a lot of unknowns. I can’t claim that ‘X’ will happen. I just want to live a long healthy life, and I don’t want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise.”
Borland said it wasn’t an easy decision, given his success last year.
“I’ve thought about what I could accomplish in football, but for me personally, when you read about Mike Webster and Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling, you read all these stories and to be the type of player I want to be in football, I think I’d have to take on some risks that as a person I don’t want to take on,” Borland said.
Borland said he believed he suffered a concussion in training camp, but he played through it because he wanted to make the team. As the season progressed, he became more concerned about the issue.
As a third-round pick in 2014, Borland signed a four-year contract with a $617,436 signing bonus. The 49ers have the right to recover 3/4th of that amount ($463,077).
Borland joins linebacker Jason Worilds and quarterback Jake Locker as players who have retired in the past week under the age of 30.