Chris Borland is giving three-fourths of his signing bonus — or about $463,000 — back to the 49ers, after suddenly announcing his retirement from the NFL at the age of 24. The linebacker insists that he has to do what’s best for his health, but he’s also not out be labeled a “money-grabber.”
Chris Borland had an amazing first season with the San Francisco 49ers. The San Jose Mercury Register reports that had 15 tackles in his first start after taking over for Patrick Willis midway through the season. Chris Borland continued his streak to end with a team high of 108 tackles for the year, despite only being on for half the year.
Borland’s performance translated into a new lucrative contract deal, which is why everyone was surprised when he suddenly decided to retire.
Chris Borland announced his plan to return most of the signing bonus on CBS’ Face The Nation.
“To play to one year is not a cash grab, as I’ve been accused of. I’m paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus, I’m only taking the money I’ve earned.”
According to Time Magazine, just a few days ago, the linebacker said he’d be retiring from the NFL out of fear of a future head trauma, shocking the football community.
Borland said at the time, “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.”
Borland’s early retirement has fueled scrutiny over the safety of professional football. According to NBC Sports, the NFL gave a statement insisting that the game has “never been safer.”
“By any measure, football has never been safer and we continue to make progress with rule changes, safer tackling techniques at all levels of football, and better equipment, protocols and medical care for players. Concussions in NFL games were down 25 percent last year, continuing a three-year downward trend. We continue to make significant investments in independent research to advance the science and understanding of these issues.”
Chris Borland is not convinced. According to the Huffington Post, he responded by saying you simply can’t take the danger out of football.
“I think football is inherently dangerous and that’ll never change so long as we have football. Talking about the culture of safety is really irrelevant.”
Nevertheless, Chris Borland says he loves the “visceral feeling” of the game, but players need to remember their worth.
“That doesn’t mean football players are pieces of meat. I think the most important people to convey that message to is the football player himself. You’re not a commodity; you’re a person.”
[Image Credit: Steve/Wikimedia Commons]