The San Francisco 49ers have seen a rash of early retirements over the past several months. It started with future Hall of Famer linebacker Patrick Willis calling it quits after eight NFL seasons. It then continued with fellow linebacker Chris Borland citing concussions as the reason he hung up his cleats after just one year.
Then, earlier this month, right tackle Anthony Davis announced that he was stepping away from the game due to his own injury issues.
Now comes this report from Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle indicating that Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid has considered retiring due in part to the three concussions he has suffered in two seasons with San Francisco:
“Everybody evaluates their own situation as far as playing this game. I’ve evaluated mine and I’ve decided I still want to play,” Reid said. “There is a doctor that I’m looking further into and I may end up going to see,” Reid said. “Like I said, right now I’ve evaluated my situation and I feel comfortable playing.”
Reid, a first-round pick of the 49ers back in 2013, missed the final game of this past season with a concussion. Though, he made sure to note that it was because the team was out of playoff contention.
In two seasons in the NFL, Reid has started 31 of a possible 32 games. He has also suffered three concussions during that span—something that’s obviously on his mind right now:
“I’m not putting a number to it (number of concussions),” Reid said. “I will continue to evaluate my own situation. If I have another concussion and I don’t feel like I can play any more, then I won’t. If I (have another concussion), and if I feel that I still can play, then I will. It’s just a case-by-case basis.”
Anyone looking at this as a problem solely in the locker room in San Francisco is looking to point a finger somewhere. With all the new information out on head trauma, players are just more educated on the long-term impact of repeated blows to the head.
Early-round picks such as Reid, who have earned millions early in their careers, may just not deem a future in the NFL as worth the risk of long-term brain injury.
That’s the harsh reality of the situation for a league that needs to be more open about the issues that could plague players following retirement.
Photo: USA Today Sports