Tuesday, March 17, 2015

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retiring from NFL because of safety issues


One of the NFL's top rookies during the 2015 season is retiring from the game because of safety concerns. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland notified the team on Monday that he was walking away from the game and his $540,000 salary because of his concerns about the effects of repetitive head trauma.

"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health. 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 'til 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.

"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 know about the dangers?'" Borland told ESPN's Outside the Lines.

The 49ers issued a statement confirming Borland's retirement.

"While unexpected, we certainly respect Chris' decision.

"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," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said.

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