49ers general manager Trent Baalke released a statement regarding LB Chris Borland‘s decision to retire from the NFL.
“While unexpected, we certainly respect Chris’ decision,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “From speaking with Chris, it was evident that he had put a great deal of thought into this decision. He was a consummate professional from day one and a very well respected member of our team and community. Chris is a determined young man that overcame long odds in his journey to the NFL and we are confident he will use the same approach to become very successful in his future endeavors. We will always consider him a 49er and wish him all the best.”
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told “Outside the Lines.” “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”
This comes less than a week after 49ers veteran ILB Patrick Willis announced that he was walking away from the NFL.
Many though that the 49ers would at least be okay at inside linebacker given that Borland put together an extremely impressive rookie season for San Francisco.
“I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve ever been, for me it’s wanting to be proactive,” said Borland. “I’m concerned that if you wait till 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.
“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.”
According to Borland, there is no chance of him changing his mind about walking away from the game.
Borland mentioned that he sustained what he believed to be a concussion during training camp, while trying to a make a tackle.
“I just thought to myself, ‘What am I doing? Is this how I’m going to live my adult life, banging my head, especially with what I’ve learned and knew about the dangers?‘”
Borland, 24, still has three years remaining on his four-year, $2.897 million contract and would make base salaries of $530,000 (2015), $620,000 (2016), and $710,000 (2017) coming his way over the remainder of his contract.
In 2014, Borland appeared in 14 games and recorded 107 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and five pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the N0. 4 inside linebacker out of 60 qualifying players.