49ers Linebacker Chris Borland Suddenly Retires
As if losing Patrick Willis and Jim Harbaugh weren’t enough, the San Francisco 49ers were dealt another blow in a chaotic offseason. Per reports, linebacker Chris Borland, who was slated to take over for Willis, informed the team that he will retire from the NFL after just one season.
Chris Borland’s retirement comes roughly a week after Patrick Willis retired at just 30 years of age, citing foot ailments and the inability to continue to compete at the highest possible level. Borland started to display the ability to take over for Willis as San Francisco’s long-term option in the middle of their defense, thanks to a successful rookie season that saw him register 107 total tackles, one sack and two interceptions.
After a standout career at Wisconsin, the 49ers made Borland their third round draft choice in the 2014 NFL Draft with the idea of having him team up with Patrick Willis and Novarro Bowman for years to come. Their desire to maintain an elite linebacking corps may not pan out, however, as both Willis and Borland have not called it a career and Bowman still hasn’t played a down since tearing his ACL in the NFC title game over a year ago.
Borland exits the game after just one pro season, citing long-term health risks as the main reason for walking away.
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” the 24-year old said in an interview with ESPN, “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk”.
Few can blame either Willis or Borland from walking away at a young age, as they’ve both made some money and had the ability to do what they loved at the highest level. Borland is cutting his pro football career much shorter than Willis, however, and intends on pursuing a career in sports management and finishing up his degree at Wisconsin, rather than risk mental health further down the line.
It’s another huge blow for the 49ers, who have changed head coaches and lost several key players over the past few months. It’s another reminder than these aren’t quite the same 49ers that appeared in three of the last four NFC title games. Needless to say, if you were banking on San Francisco charging back for another deep playoff run in 2015, you may want to reconsider any bets you lay down.
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