Despite being a rookie drafted in the third round, linebacker Chris Borland was an important part of the 49ers defense last season, even starting eight games. With Patrick Willis retiring and Justin Smith reportedly considering the same, the 49ers will rely on Borland even more heavily this season. Or, were going to. Outside the Lines is reporting that Borland, 24, has told the 49ers that he is retiring “because of concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.”
Borland told Outside the Lines that he began considering retirement as far back as training camp, when he believes he suffered a concussion but played through it in order to try and make the team. After the season he says he met with former players as well as doctors, which only further solidified the decision. He plans on going back to school at Wisconsin—where he graduated with a degree in history—to work towards his new career, possibly in sports management.
Between this and the string of early retirements…it’s hard not to think that more and more players will start making similar decisions.