Chris Borland Retires: Players React After 49er Quits, Citing Head-Injury Worries

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Chris Borland, a 24-year-old linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and one of the most promising rookies in the NFL last year, says he’s quitting the game because he doesn’t want to risk long-term brain injury.

“I just honestly want to do what's best for my health,” he 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.”

Reaction on Twitter was quick. The 49ers front office expressed surprise and wished him the best:

Some players, meanwhile, spoke of it as an eye-opener:

Brandon Marshall, just traded to the New York Jets, made mention of Borland’s teammate Patrick Willis, who last week announced that he would walk away from the game at age 30 because of pain in his feet.

Others simply expressed shock:

Donté Stallworth, who left the game in 2012, said that players are more worried now than ever about brain trauma:

Russell Wilson, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, who played with Borland at Wisconsin, offered his prayers:

Bobby Wagner, a Seahawks linebacker, suggested he couldn’t imagine making a similar choice:

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s top college football analyst, suggested the decision could reverberate. Some prominent NFL writers were quick to weigh in, too.

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