One of the more surprising moments of the NFL offseason occurred back in March when former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retired after just one year in the league.
For Borland—a former first-team All-American at Wisconsin—the decision was about much more than money. In announcing his retirement, the linebacker had this to say:
“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.”
Now, months removed from making that life-changing decision, Borland finds himself surprised by the reaction he’s received regarding the stunning retirement, especially from a monetary standpoint:
“That has been the biggest surprise for me. People can’t get over the money,” the former third-round pick said, via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That’s all they think about. But your health is a little more important.”
Considering Borland earned less than $600,000 during his short NFL career, his situation is a bit different in comparison to others who have abruptly retired over the past few months. The likes of Jake Locker, Jason Worilds and Patrick Willis had already earned millions by the time they hung it up.
That in and of itself is a clear sign that Borland doesn’t care too much about the money. It will also be interesting to see if this becomes a trend in the coming years. Players know a lot more about the health risks they are taking than at any previous point in league history.
Will the money continue to be worth it for a vast majority of these players?
Photo: USA Today Sports