San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland's decision to retire because of concerns about concussions and long-term brain damage sent shock waves through the NFL on Monday night.
The 24-year-old, who was coming off his rookie season, was considered one of the league's upcoming stars. Borland's decision highlights how concerned some players are about head injuries having a negative effect on long-term health.
"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Monday. "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."
In addition to the lasting effects of head and brain injuries, the NFL also should be concerned about players who are retiring at age 30 or younger. In recent weeks, several young, high-profile players have decided to call it quits.
Borland's 49ers teammate, Patrick Willis, 30, announced his retirement, seemingly in the prime of his career. Jake Locker (age 26), Jason Worilds (27) and Maurice Jones-Drew (29) also have announced their retirements in recent weeks.
Here's how current and former NFL players reacted to Borland's decision:
Guys deciding to walk away from the game at a young age is a great reminder to us all that life has a bigger picture. I wish them the best!— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) March 17, 2015
I understand but still shocked ((Chris Borland)) #49ers— Tramaine Brock (@T26Brock) March 17, 2015
So P. Willis and Chris Borland? They know something that we don’t?— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshh54) March 17, 2015
It was a honor playing with Chris Borland at UW, I wish him nothing but the best!— Kevin Zeitler (@kzeit70) March 17, 2015
WOW. I loved Chris Borland's game but I can't fault him for calling it quits. His concerns are real. Still it takes a man to do the logical.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 17, 2015
I don't feel bad for Borland. I feel happy for him. He's made a tough choice.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 17, 2015
Got to respect Borland for clearly putting thought into his decision. If you're not 100% committed to this game, better to walk away.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) March 17, 2015
49ers young star Chris Borland's retirement after one season is the beginning of many more to come. Best wishes, kid! http://t.co/SxTwvrCPL6— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) March 17, 2015
It's extremely difficult when you're living your dream of playing in the NFL as a 20-something to contemplate what life could be like at 50.— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) March 17, 2015
No offense to anyone but I'm playing until I can't anymore. I love this game to much.— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) March 17, 2015
Everyone is motivated by different things. Everyone's path is different. I respect a man who knows his path and follows it.— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) March 17, 2015
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shocked to hear the news about my dude Borland, but i totally understand his decision to retire #muchrespect— Chase Thomas (@CTcard44) March 17, 2015