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Patrick Willis, Justin Smith retiring from 49ers

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The San Francisco 49ers continue to see dramatic changes in a franchise only a year removed from three straight NFC title game appearances.

From coach Jim Harbaugh leaving (mutually or otherwise) to running back Frank Gore signing with the Eagles on Tuesday  to the unexpected departure of receiver Michael Crabtree to the possible loss of guard Mike Iupati, the exodus of talented players continue.

The next two dominoes to fall will be linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith.

Willis is the surprise that was referred to earlier today, and it’s a major one.  Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports Willis is strongly considering retirement.  As PFT hears it, it’s a done deal, with the formal announcement coming Tuesday.

Per multiple league sources, Smith also is done — although that’s not a surprise.  The 14-year veteran joined the 49ers as a free agent in 2008, and he had been in many respects the cornerstone of the defense.

Willis, a first-round pick in 2007 who turned 30 in January, is under contract through 2016.  Smith is under contract through 2015.  Their retirements could result in the partial repayment of bonus money they both previously received; whether that issue will be pursued will be up the to 49ers.

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184 Responses to “Patrick Willis, Justin Smith retiring from 49ers”
  1. xnihilofan says: Mar 9, 2015 10:53 AM

    Willis a surprise for sure.
    Smith not so much.

  2. cribbage12 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:53 AM

    No surprises here.

  3. sweded775 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM

    Goodnight Bam Bam.

  4. bucrightoff says: Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM

    Trying to think of a worse offseason for any franchise and it’s pretty tough to think of one. Who’s got it better than the 49ers? About 29 other teams

  5. skoobyfl says: Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM

    Harbaugh looks like the smartest guy in the room by jumping ship.

  6. sfsugator says: Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM

    No way he retires.

  7. agreewithmee says: Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM

    Willis will come out of retirement prettttty quick when he sees enough money.

  8. houstonfan4life says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    Damn, if that happens, it will really be Kap and everyone else there.

  9. niners816 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    As a Niners fan, this sucks but thanks to both for an awesome run and I wish them both the best of luck in the future. The only good thing out of this is it frees up some cap room. Best of luck, 94 and 52!

  10. jayniner says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    un-freakin-believable!

    Well fellow Niners fans, looks like we’re back to another 2003-2010 run…..

  11. scoobyscraps says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    Wow. SF has fallen off the map!

  12. pathsovglory says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    A Niner team without Gore, Willis, or Justin Smith… that’s just wrong, man.

  13. cheeks9441 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    Leadership goes bye-bye

  14. southpaw2k says: Mar 9, 2015 10:55 AM

    Double whammy.

  15. frotoon2 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:56 AM

    The new stadium is cursed.

  16. ethanhulk says: Mar 9, 2015 10:56 AM

    Willis “retires”, then unretires to join Fangio in Chicago

  17. bettis3636 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:56 AM

    Willis has been fishing a lot on social media… Guess fishing makes him happier then playing football anymore… WOW…

  18. billswillnevermove says: Mar 9, 2015 10:56 AM

    Wow!!!

  19. dwilkinson1968 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:57 AM

    Rick Smith, the Texans’ G.M., needs to fly Willis down to Houston and try & convince him to give it one more go — with the Texans, of course.

  20. xnihilofan says: Mar 9, 2015 10:57 AM

    The good news……

    welcome to Santa Clara CJ Spiller.

  21. str53ngth says: Mar 9, 2015 10:57 AM

    Sad day for 49er fans. Best of luck in the rest of your lives fellas. You will be missed.

  22. fordmandalay says: Mar 9, 2015 10:58 AM

    The smart rats know when it’s time to jump off the Titanic.

  23. imodan says: Mar 9, 2015 10:58 AM

    SF returns to the cellar after a great 3 year run. Meanwhile the Patriots continue to reload and compete year in and year out.

  24. valentino8100 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:58 AM

    Good to see so many players and coaches excited about what genius Jed York brings to the table. Great job skippy.

  25. wolejr03 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:58 AM

    You guy are horrible. Willis was drafted in 2007.

  26. chunkydonkey says: Mar 9, 2015 10:59 AM

    With the 1st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select…….

  27. vontae21 says: Mar 9, 2015 10:59 AM

    As a colt but also NFL fan I’ve really liked these guys game for years. I feel it’s early for Willis but thanks for giving something each to the game

  28. frotoon2 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM

    “Hey, can we start those trade talks back up?”
    -Colin Kaepernick

  29. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM

    I thought Cowboy might give it one more year. Apparently, I was wrong.

    And the news on Willis is a bolt out of the blue. Wow.

    I believe Carradine will be a stud on the DL, but the 49’ers once exceptionally deep ILB crew took a key hit here. Bowman’s knee got absolutely wrecked in the ’13 playoffs, and we don’t know what level of dropoff in performance to expect. And though Borland played lights out in about half a season — he’s got some injury history of concern too.

    This news is pretty big-time, and tough news for ‘Niner Nation. That team could have won 3 Super Bowls in 2011, 2012 and 2013 — but is now left with a lot of “What If’s.” Wow.

  30. chiadam says: Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM

    “Willis “retires”, then unretires to join Fangio in Chicago”

    Wrong. Players under contract can’t use retirement as means to change teams. It doesn’t work like that. That would be chaos.

  31. thefatlazygamer says: Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM

    They should have just hired Mike Singletary as coach again since they are back to the dark days of pre-Super Bowl and pre-Harbaugh. Feel bad for Tomsula.

  32. cakesw says: Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM

    Look… it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened here…

    The Owner backed the wrong horse !!!!!!!!

    Treant Baalke is a horrific GM, and York sided with him instead of Harbaugh…

    Now you are going to have to deal with a nice, pretty, 5 year rebuild….

    Congrats !

  33. silvercutlery says: Mar 9, 2015 11:01 AM

    49ers football.

  34. xnihilofan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:01 AM

    skoobyfl says:
    Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM
    Harbaugh looks like the smartest guy in the room by jumping ship.

    __________________________________

    If by “jumping ship” you mean “fired” then, yeah, I could see that……..

  35. liquidchaoss says: Mar 9, 2015 11:01 AM

    Why are 49er fans worried? You signed Darnell Dockett lol

  36. DawgPound83 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:01 AM

    Throw in Aldon for a trifecta of Smiths

  37. easternshoresfinest says: Mar 9, 2015 11:01 AM

    Jed York reminds me of a young Dan Snyder.

  38. tvjules says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    49ers better start looking at the top of the 2016. It looks like they’ll own the first pick.

  39. giantboy99 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    Miners heading for a free fall

  40. dalfanforever says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    Willis’ retirement was a shock. But from what I’m hearing from my SF fan friends, the natives are restless on the team and York is making friends all over the team. **Sarcasm dripping**

  41. puckthafatriots says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    Welcome back to irrelevancy Niners fans.

  42. canedaddy says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    Torrey Smith is probably having second thoughts.

  43. xnihilofan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    imodan says:
    Mar 9, 2015 10:58 AM
    SF returns to the cellar after a great 3 year run. Meanwhile the Patriots continue to reload and compete year in and year out.

    ______________________________

    If by “compete” you mean “we’re in the AFC East so that guarantees at least 8 wins” then, yeah, I could see that as reloading.

  44. horsepedlr says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    now you know why they paid dockett so much.

  45. 6ball says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    .
    Jets West
    .

  46. sf69ers says: Mar 9, 2015 11:02 AM

    This is officially the end of a great era in San Francisco. The best players on a consistently great defense year in year out. Throughout coaching changes and poor offensive performance, they always came to play at a high level. Hope both can get into the hall of fame one day. Like Peter boulware, toe injuries can end careers. The defense is no longer an elite unit without these two.

  47. grimreaper12 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:03 AM

    patrick willias? wow……maybe is toe is that serious? or, he’s just tired of playing.

  48. Rindell says: Mar 9, 2015 11:03 AM

    This points to the real problem the 49ers have had over the last year or so– and it wasn’t Harbaugh.

    The real problem is that they haven’t been successful in drafting and acquiring enough good players after Scott McLoughan left. Three years ago, the San Fran had the most talented roster in the league and were flat-out dominant on defense. Those days are long gone.

    Harbaugh is a great coach and got the most out of that team until Baalke teamed with York and blamed it all on Harbaugh.

    This is at best a .500 team this year folks.

  49. raiderufan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:03 AM

    It’s a shame Willis goes out with a whimper like this.

    Is it the toe that’s bringing him down?

  50. jetsfmleveryday says: Mar 9, 2015 11:03 AM

    POW!! Right in the kisser!!

  51. REDSKINSFOREVER says: Mar 9, 2015 11:04 AM

    Did Paul Allen secretly purchase the 49ers and explode the team for entertainment???

    Seattle has to be loving this.

  52. wallyspo says: Mar 9, 2015 11:04 AM

    Play for a clown college owner, GM, and coach, or quit while you are ahead and reduce the risk of CTE… I know what I would do.

  53. wulls1313 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:04 AM

    I love when people make statements like “he is just going to retire then get picked up by someone else” ….let me break it to you, he cant, the 9ers still own at least know what you’re talking about before saying something this idiotic.

  54. ninerfan81 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:04 AM

    WOW!!

  55. skawh says: Mar 9, 2015 11:05 AM

    From what should have been a SB win with the right play call, to s total team meltdown created by the front office – Unreal.

  56. astburyj says: Mar 9, 2015 11:05 AM

    San Fran is now in the toilet. But at least their stadium is nice

  57. 2rude86 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:05 AM

    Those guys are great football players and i always liked watching them. But as a seahawk fan im glad they are retiring.

    Go hawks!

  58. jnovi86 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:06 AM

    this is just the worst possible news to start my Monday.

    After a decade of mediocrity we finally had a coach that could get the best out of our talent players, now hes gone, key talent is gone, and we are left with the GM and owner that screwed it up last time.

    This just ruins my whole week

  59. scoob766 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:07 AM

    Borland replaces Willis and Dockett replaces Smith, definitely a hit but not as big as everyone is stating. Also, Torrey who caught more tds in 1 year then crab.

    World isn’t ending…

  60. nyneal says: Mar 9, 2015 11:07 AM

    As one who is definitely not a Niners fan, I still tip my hat to these two players and wish them well.

    If Willis is really retiring at a relatively young age, he is smart. With all the evidence of long-term health problems for players, I think you might see this become the trend.

  61. icebergsimpson says: Mar 9, 2015 11:07 AM

    I wouldn’t want to play for Ron Jeremy either if I were Patrick Willis.

  62. granadafan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:07 AM

    Baalke must go. York has been an incompetent owner since his wife took the franchise from her brother. If not for the lucky hire in Haraugh, York would be considered as bad as Daniel Snyder. He’s still better than Tommy Boy, Mark Davis across the Bay though.

  63. fabquarrymen says: Mar 9, 2015 11:07 AM

    I notice all the “Who’s got it better than us’ talk is gone…too funny!!

  64. dasheisenberg says: Mar 9, 2015 11:08 AM

    No surprises here…Yorks got their new ATM machine in Santa Clara, jettison your high priced coach (albeit good one that brought your franchise back from the dead), gut your roster of the people who got you there, and leave who is left so sick to their stomachs and disillusioned that they just walk away. Now all that is left is to fill your roster with a bunch of JAGS you don’t really have to pay, sit back, and start collecting money from aforementioned ATM machine…

  65. bencoates57 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:08 AM

    Plus Jerry Rice admitting all those SBs were tainted.

  66. seanpscott says: Mar 9, 2015 11:08 AM

    I don’t think Wllis is retiring. Maybe i’m wrong but it’s not like his health is a major concern except for his toe injury. I was hoping Smith would come back for one more year but if both of these guys are gone we have replacements including Borland at MLB. But Willis needs to come back.

  67. bobsagetspiercedc0ck says: Mar 9, 2015 11:08 AM

    I love it…its the fall of Rome in Santa Clara:)

  68. bassplucker says: Mar 9, 2015 11:08 AM

    … Only to both un-retire halfway through training camp and sign with the Bears.

  69. tennesseeoilers says: Mar 9, 2015 11:09 AM

    Nobody has it better? … Heck, even WE have it better.

    – Titans Fan

  70. kamthechancellor says: Mar 9, 2015 11:10 AM

    Two great warriors. I’ll miss seeing them on the field during the Seattle games. Respect.

  71. rhemish says: Mar 9, 2015 11:10 AM

    The boat is sinking and everybody is jumping off as a Raider fan Zi love it

  72. wawa33 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:10 AM

    Can Jed York & Trent Balke play lineman and linebacker?

  73. raymondtx says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    I would retire too, if my wife looked like Shenae Saifi.

  74. xnihilofan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    *******BREAKING********

    Hate to break it to you fine folks but the retirement of Willis doesn’t put the 49ers back into irrelevancy anymore than when he didn’t play last season except for 5 games where he was totally ineffective. The defense, in fact, continued to be a top-3 defense somehow WITHOUT Bowman and Willis. The loss of Smith will be felt most notably by Aldon Smith who most likely NEEDS the other Smith to be successful and this season will show one way or the other.

    The fact is any fan could see that Willis wasn’t the same Willis for the last two seasons in fact bringing into question if he was over the hill. The issue is he couldn’t move because his toe was injured. And, yes, a toe can do that. Just ask Deion Sanders.

  75. braceyourselffor12 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    Every Niner fan already had the notion that Smith was retiring but I can’t express my shock and dismay enough about Willis.

    It is really sad to see the potential this team had begin to melt away and although Harbaugh had control of the reigns during our Super Bowl run, the fact that someone like Patrick Willis would rather retire than play for this team speaks volumes about the current ownership/front office.

    Hail and farewell #52, you were a consummate professional and great human being. It was fun while it lasted.

  76. sfsugator says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    We will trade you Andrew Luck for Kaepernick.

    -Says no one ever. hahahahahahahha.

    Niners back to another decade of suck. embrace the suck.

  77. bencoates57 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    And Montana losing his TD record to Brady and having to share the MVP record with Brady.

    But no worries. Remember, Brady grew up a 49er fan. He was raised on them. I wonder why the 9ers didn’t draft him.

  78. turbolove says: Mar 9, 2015 11:11 AM

    Wow that’s kind of sad. The stalwarts — Gore, Willis and J. Smith — all guys with SF before they became really good and pushed the team to success are done.

  79. unlost1 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:13 AM

    What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?

  80. thetruthcampaign says: Mar 9, 2015 11:14 AM

    So, basically, now us NFL fans won’t care to watch any 49er games next season. They will no longer be the “other half” in any formerly-good matchup.

  81. ohand16 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:15 AM

    So is Willis to the Patriots confirmed yet?

  82. beastmode5150 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:16 AM

    They are both smart, who would want to be a part of that Organization? Hasn’t been relevant since the 90’s aside from choking in one recent superbowl.

  83. nevyn49 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:17 AM

    You name all the players and it seems terrible

    Gore
    Smith
    Willis
    Crabtree
    Iupati
    Culliver (probably)

    Thats about a fifth of your starters.

    HOWEVER

    Gore was maybe not even going to start. The successor is in place.

    Smith has been known about for awhile, and is being replaced by Dockett.

    Willis has 2 excellent backups

    Crabtree has been terrible. Torrey Smith represents an upgrade.

    Iupati is a monster run blocker but a pass blocking turnstile and the niners need balance. They also drafted 2 candidates to replace him last year.

    Always scary to see so much turnover, but still a very talented roster. The loss of Harbaugh and Fangio is still the one that hurts.

  84. bradygirl12 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:17 AM

    The 9ers are partially blowing up.

  85. EJ says: Mar 9, 2015 11:17 AM

    Willis is a shock! Wouldn’t this have been his seventh season? Wow! A dominating player that easily could have made his mark with the 49er franchise with many years left in the tank! I know he has made millions, but many many more millions could have been made… all while playing a game! A game that most men and boys would play for free!! SMH. These players make way too much money… enough money to retire after a brief career! Amazing!

  86. bencoates57 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:18 AM

    If by “compete” you mean “we’re in the AFC East so that guarantees at least 8 wins” then, yeah, I could see that as reloading.

    —————————————–

    I’d stack the AFC East against most divisions last year. The Bills were 4-0 against the NFC North. Pats 3-1. And the East is comparable record wise to the AFC West.

    The AFC South and NFC South were far worse. The NFC West was bad for years until recently and now the 49ers will join the Rams and the Cards are overrated.

  87. bencoates57 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:20 AM

    Seattle will clinch by week 10.

  88. fordmandalay says: Mar 9, 2015 11:20 AM

    On the plus side; the 49ers still have one of the best looking uniforms in the NFL. So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

  89. voiceofrealism says: Mar 9, 2015 11:20 AM

    ialwayswantedtobeabanker says:Mar 9, 2015
    That team could have won 3 Super Bowls in 2011, 2012 and 2013 — but is now left with a lot of “What If’s.” Wow.
    _______________________________
    That much talent, one Superbowl win would have been a fart in the wind. But the 9ers sharted.

  90. dudermcrbohan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:21 AM

    Willis was an 08 First Rounder? That’s kind of weird that he has stats for 07 then, isn’t it?

  91. jayniner says: Mar 9, 2015 11:22 AM

    I think it’s about time for me to retire as a 49ers fan. 30 years of being a Niners fan since I was a kid, with all the changes starting with Harbaugh, then Gore, now this?!?

    My heart can’t take it.

  92. bencoates57 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:23 AM

    KUNG POW!

  93. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 9, 2015 11:23 AM

    Maybe it’s you, Jed.

  94. skawh says: Mar 9, 2015 11:23 AM

    As a Seattle fan much RESPECT to both Smith and Willis. Thanks for some great memories!

  95. hawkfanwtf says: Mar 9, 2015 11:26 AM

    As a Seahawks fan, I tip my hat to these fine players, they brought it every sunday and especially in the big games. They were, are STUDS, in a mans game.
    I hope the 49ers can find the players to remain relevant in the division. But is doesn’t look that way. Although making predictions in the off season is a fools game, because once the season starts it game on and we will see how bad, or good SF is next season.
    Balke the ball is in your court.

  96. fishyinalittledishy says: Mar 9, 2015 11:26 AM

    I suppose it’s impossible for a player to retire and then surface somewhere else let’s say NE

  97. jmc8888 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:27 AM

    Justin Smith is still better then anyone they did or can get as a replacement this year… and not by a little, but a lot.

    The uncertainty of the LB corp was supposed to decrease, but now with this, it’s been blown wide open again.

    Hyde is good, but they had a good 1-2 punch, and a serviceable 3. That’s not the case anymore, and Hyde is not a wily veteran like Gore.

    Throw in some FA defection on the OL, DB, etc… and the 49ers have some pretty big problems.

    Dockett took the money, which he chastised others about in previous seasons, then didn’t take his own advice. Now he’ll get to find out why the rationale he used to hold, should of been the one he still did.

  98. RegisHawk says: Mar 9, 2015 11:29 AM

    I am not shocked. What else ya got?

  99. td30 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:29 AM

    i feel kind of bad for bowman. The defense will be on his shoulders and he might not be the player he used to be before the injury.

    Couldve been the best LB duo for a good amount of years

  100. skawh says: Mar 9, 2015 11:34 AM

    To the disillusioned Pat’s fan…

    We’re the “Bills” ever a serious threat to taking the division from the Pat’s last year, much less a playoff team? No on both counts.

    And what of the past 15 years that the Pat’s haven’t had any division competition…Crickets, I know.

  101. nflpoker says: Mar 9, 2015 11:38 AM

    And everyone and their brother are coming after Iupati. Oh well, if Iupati comes to MN, I won’t be broken up. We could use him or should I say need him.

    It looks like SF is becoming the farm team of the NFL.

  102. nevyn49 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:38 AM

    “Hyde is good, but they had a good 1-2 punch, and a serviceable 3. That’s not the case anymore, and Hyde is not a wily veteran like Gore.”

    A good 1-2 punch is overrated when both have similar styles. Last year having that 1-2 punch meant both guys got misused and neither could get in a rhythm.

    You need a lead dog, and Gore was good enough that it would be tough to justify making him a backup, but Hyde is good enough that you don’t want to leave him getting table scraps for more seasons.

    And beyond all that, RB is the easiest position in the NFL to find talent. All rounds of draft, UDFA, veterans out the wazoo. Its the ultimate disposable position.

  103. ctiggs says: Mar 9, 2015 11:39 AM

    how and why i still support this team i no longer know.

  104. bassplucker says: Mar 9, 2015 11:39 AM

    I hope Fangio hires Justin Smith as a consultant to teach the new Bears D-Linemen how to hold. No one did it better.

  105. eltoro1000 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:39 AM

    bucrightoff says:
    Mar 9, 2015 10:54 AM
    Trying to think of a worse offseason for any franchise and it’s pretty tough to think of one. Who’s got it better than the 49ers? About 29 other teams

    Ever heard of the Cleveland Browns?

    Let’s run down the list. Qb in rehab, 1st overall pick CB is a knucklehead, top receiver suspended for a year, starting TE refuses to re-sign, Offensive coordinator begs to leave with 32-point PowerPoint presentation, GM caught texting sideline and could cost us a pick – which was leaked by leaving offensive coordinator, Browns make huge announcement about changing logo and looks virtually the same, signs free agent qb who’s record was 1-10 last season, new offensive coordinator has never held the position before, Browns organization raises ticket prices, no less than 5 articles/ tweets about toxic nature at Browns hq and difficult team schedule next season. Hard to be positive… Beat that! Ugh…

  106. raiderrob21 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:40 AM

    So in other words they asked him to restructure his $9 mill cap hit this year, he said no, and this is another one of those “Mutually parting ways” where each side gets something?

  107. badburro says: Mar 9, 2015 11:40 AM

    Go get Suh! With Smith and Willis gone, Suh makes a logical choice.

  108. loubearkane says: Mar 9, 2015 11:42 AM

    Way to go York

  109. 52lightsxout52 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:43 AM

    What’cha talkin’ bout Willis???

  110. seabrawk12 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:43 AM

    The quest for six?

  111. stew48 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:44 AM

    If Willis has a bad big toe, that is most likely the reason for retirement. The only reason Jack Lambert retired when he did was a bad big toe that would not heal. It has always seemed strange that such was the case, but not so, really.

  112. joetoronto says: Mar 9, 2015 11:51 AM

    No one has it worse than the 49ers, no one.

  113. jdrewsy says: Mar 9, 2015 11:54 AM

    Big blow for the niners! Both players were great and we will miss them in the future!

  114. steelgrave says: Mar 9, 2015 11:55 AM

    Welcome back to mediocrity, 49’ers. I’m trying to remember the last time we saw a really good team implode quite so quickly. Harbaugh is gonna have the last laugh here, folks, considering the inept management and ownership comedy team that’s running San Francisco now.

    Look for the Cowboys to add to their Super Bowl collection before the 49’ers sniff another trophy. Two years ago, who would’ve thunk that???

  115. rcosborne59 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:56 AM

    Sucks for niner fans. Age and injuries are always a factor in football.

  116. justinnelson71 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:56 AM

    I might just retire from being a niner fan.

  117. annes22 says: Mar 9, 2015 11:57 AM

    Most fans of the 49rs know the owner is the problem. Ask avid fans and they will tell you.
    Everyone is leaving, so what could the problem be, figure it out? Kaepernick will be the only decent one left very soon.

  118. imodan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:58 AM

    skawh says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:34 AM

    To the disillusioned Pat’s fan…

    We’re the “Bills” ever a serious threat to taking the division from the Pat’s last year, much less a playoff team? No on both counts.

    And what of the past 15 years that the Pat’s haven’t had any division competition…Crickets, I know.
    ———————————————————-
    Don’t blame the Pats for division rivals that don’t have a clue how to run an organization. I’m sure the Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals will gladly take the 2 wins over the 9ers over the foreseeable future. All a team can do is beat the team lined up on the other side. For 15 years nobody has done it better than the Patriots. Fact.

  119. realfootballfan says: Mar 9, 2015 11:59 AM

    Willis doesn’t want to go back to those 5-11 seasons. He’s not dumb. The 49ers just gutted a Super Bowl roster that was amongst the best in the league just 2 years ago in short order by first running off the coach and now destroying it from the ground up. Those mid 2000’s wandering in the desert years are here again, 49er fans, lol. Embrace it. Soon, the Raiders won’t be the only punchline in the Bay again.

  120. In Teddy We Trust says: Mar 9, 2015 11:59 AM

    You can start rebuilding your team right away by trading for Adrian Peterson.

  121. trojan33sc says: Mar 9, 2015 12:01 PM

    Well, i guess the expectations of Coach Tomsula just got a tad easier. How’s the NFC West look from the “back of the bus Tom???” lol Then again, the 49’ers SUCKED before Harbaugh took over too. You got any magic in YOUR tank Tom ??? Nice………………

  122. loubearkane says: Mar 9, 2015 12:02 PM

    and then if Aldon Smith does do something stupid which I would give a 50/50 chance of happening you are really screwged

  123. nfliferfan22 says: Mar 9, 2015 12:02 PM

    To all the negative trolls hating, the Niners drafted Chris Borland from Wisconsin prepared for this possibility. He was a stud last year but those here probably don’t bother to learn the facts and look at his stats. The LB’s are a position of strength and Justin Smith was an expected departure and they have plenty of depth on the dline especially with the addition of Docket.. Their drafts have been strong and they will be just fine! Get over it haters!

  124. shlort says: Mar 9, 2015 12:03 PM

    Going to find out if Kaepernick is worth his contract now. My money is on the 49ers floundering and Kaepernick looking like a huge mistake.

  125. eyezworld says: Mar 9, 2015 12:04 PM

    not too bad. the yungster will step in for willis like last year and dockett will help with the loss of smith. just need to get good at the corners and o line need one or two dogs. torrey smith will be ok . running backs will be ok and kap must play like the old kap(run + pass). its kinda sad but hell its a youth movement

  126. bgrillz says: Mar 9, 2015 12:05 PM

    Whose got it better than us? Maybe should be whose got it worse than us. What a brutal offseason. But at least kap worked on his throwing this offseason….

  127. axespray says: Mar 9, 2015 12:06 PM

    Just like I said, The New 49ers will be just a flash in the pan like the L.T. Chargers.

    Awesome 1-3 years of relevancy – now go back to being raider fans you fair weather stab happy idiots.

  128. nextmanisme says: Mar 9, 2015 12:11 PM

    Jus read a report that patrick willis is already set to come out retirement only to join the Arizona cardinals

  129. harbaughsohard49er says: Mar 9, 2015 12:12 PM

    We will be fine!

  130. realfootballfan says: Mar 9, 2015 12:14 PM

    Btw, so much for all those players that hated Harbaugh that Jedd and his buddy, Paraag Marathe, planted in the media with lackeys like Deion Sanders. You wouldn’t know it by how many of them can’t get away from Santa Clara fast enough. They got their new stadium in a state where it’s impossible to get public funding to do so, and now Jedd’s back to operating like his Pops taught him, on the cheap.

  131. captainwhodat says: Mar 9, 2015 12:16 PM

    wow…the handwriting is on the wall, 49er’s fans…

  132. iamapatsfan says: Mar 9, 2015 12:17 PM

    Willis is only 30 and he’s retiring?

    wow…

    How’s York feeling about his team right now, I wonder?

  133. nfliferfan22 says: Mar 9, 2015 12:18 PM

    And last time I checked Houston was 2-14 and the worst team in the league and a year later they were one win away from being in the playoffs.

    The 49ers were two plays away from being 10-6 this year after a ton of injuries. Kapernick hasn’t been as bad as people think. You are just negative trolls. Get a grip on reality haters!

  134. patriotinvasion says: Mar 9, 2015 12:20 PM

    Wow. This team looked scary good just 2 1/2 years ago. Great coach, ascending young QB, stud defense, great run game…and now it’s all gone. How does that happen?

  135. One Ring Dynasty says: Mar 9, 2015 12:21 PM

    As sad as it sounds to lose those BIG names, it has also been a long time coming. The 49ers were playing with an aging roster. These losses have been planned for – still a top 5 D last season without Willy n Bow. This team already has a few studs sitting on reserve contract for the LB position, and the D-Line has been drafted for depth over the last couple of seasons.

    seaFraud fans should be more concerned with the loss of half their coaching staff than trolling Niner posts…smh

  136. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Mar 9, 2015 12:21 PM

    It’s hard to blame players on other NFC teams for retiring, knowing the window on a possible Super Bowl has been slammed shut by the Vikings dynasty franchise that will be taking home the next five (at least) Lombardi Trophies. The talent the Vikings dynasty has accumulated is historic, and no team will even so much as make them sweat during the upcoming championship run.

  137. ayyyjayyy says: Mar 9, 2015 12:22 PM

    “… to the unexpected departure of receiver Michael Crabtree…”

    Uh, where have you been?

  138. sactogary says: Mar 9, 2015 12:28 PM

    This may just be PW’s way of forcing a trade, unless his toe just won’t heal.

  139. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 9, 2015 12:31 PM

    In a related story, Adam Schefter is reporting that millions of band wagon fans around the country have declared themselves free agents and will begin meeting with new teams immediately.

  140. RegisHawk says: Mar 9, 2015 12:32 PM

    Harbaugh choked away the best years of these guys’ lives, then ran back to college and the teenage fanbase that is the Clarinettes is too naive to figure it out.

  141. cmosiedrum says: Mar 9, 2015 12:38 PM

    fabquarrymen says:
    I notice all the “Who’s got it better than us’ talk is gone…too funny!!
    ————
    I know this is unwise feeding a troll, but to clarify;
    The lack of using that phrase has nothing to do with the suckage that York has brought to the San Francisco team & fans. It has everything to do with the fact that saying is long known to have been brought in by Jim Harbaugh…and rightly so, left with him.

    If this news indeed is true it is a sad day for the Niners. But as others have stated it’s not the end of the world, it’s just football.

  142. kevpft says: Mar 9, 2015 12:43 PM

    Say a final goodbye to the legendary San Francisco 49ers…

    …say hello to the Santa Clara Football 49ers, brought to you by Levi’s, Jed York & Trent Balke.

    Which would you rather have?

  143. jetfan74 says: Mar 9, 2015 12:44 PM

    @xnihilofan
    Your math is a little off as each team only plays 6 division games. In those games I know the 4-12 Jets “competed” to a tune of losing both games to the Pats by a grand total of 3 pts!!!! If you want to lay some blame, try the 3 other division winners who should put up some sort of fight. You know Cincy, Denver, and Indy?? Still 7 more games on the schedule and what KC and GB were the only ones who could muster up enough to get the job done. This sorry sad division gave them as many losses in fewer games than the 10 other opponents. Nice try.

  144. pdway says: Mar 9, 2015 12:45 PM

    nothing but respect for those two from this Hawks fan. Wow. It’s a new era I guess.

  145. rajbais says: Mar 9, 2015 12:49 PM

    It was a “San Fran Surprise” knowing that Willis retired.

    I hope he’s settled with his decision, but I felt that he could have played one more year.

    Willis is a HOFer, but I’m unsure about the 1st ballot.

  146. r8dernation says: Mar 9, 2015 12:53 PM

    Dang, I wish I could have retired at 30.

  147. kevo95 says: Mar 9, 2015 12:53 PM

    Done

  148. nvl004 says: Mar 9, 2015 12:54 PM

    chiadam says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM
    “Willis “retires”, then unretires to join Fangio in Chicago”

    Wrong. Players under contract can’t use retirement as means to change teams. It doesn’t work like that. That would be chaos.

    — See Brett Favre, he did it twice.

  149. fwippel says: Mar 9, 2015 12:58 PM

    This is starting to resemble some sort of quasi player revolt. It’s hard to believe this would be happening if Jim Harbaugh was still the head coach.

  150. pftpoetisretarded says: Mar 9, 2015 1:01 PM

    Greatest offseason ever!

    ~NFC West

  151. Bouncer Criss says: Mar 9, 2015 1:09 PM

    I guess we get to look forward to another Erickson, Nolan, and Singletary era

  152. cobaltdriver says: Mar 9, 2015 1:11 PM

    Wrong. Players under contract can’t use retirement as means to change teams. It doesn’t work like that. That would be chaos.

    Really? Brett Favre did that. Ask the Jets.

  153. flandersucks says: Mar 9, 2015 1:13 PM

    Willis, Gore and Smith are high character players who see the makeup of the organization and KNOW when theyre surrounded by the opposite.

  154. cobaltdriver says: Mar 9, 2015 1:16 PM

    I suppose it’s impossible for a player to retire and then surface somewhere else let’s say NE

    Not really,Brett Favre did it. I doubt we will see Willis or Smith crying to Greta and every other microphone shoved in their faces though.

  155. uplate5301 says: Mar 9, 2015 1:19 PM

    All I can say is…. thank God they drafted Chris Borland.

  156. uplate5301 says: Mar 9, 2015 1:24 PM

    The Niners just went from 8-8 in 2015 to 4-12.

  157. bhlobos says: Mar 9, 2015 1:39 PM

    As a Seahawks fan, I love the rivalry with the niners… and the NFL thrives on rivalries. If they can’t field a competitive team, and it appears as if that will be difficult this year, the Seahawks, the NFCW, and the NFL will be worse off for it.

    The fire, at least amongst fans, just isn’t the same with the Rams and Cards…

    I hated having the go against these guys, but I’m going to miss watching them play.

  158. ilovefoolsball says: Mar 9, 2015 1:42 PM

    This is just what that franchise deserves.
    The whole who’s got it better sounds funny now doesn’t it?

  159. frotoon2 says: Mar 9, 2015 1:42 PM

    Brett Favre was traded to the Jets, for a conditional fourth-round pick. If you retire while still under contract with a team, you have to talk that team into releasing or trading you if you want to come back and play for someone else.

  160. thefox61 says: Mar 9, 2015 1:54 PM

    I’m a Seahawks fan and as much as I like to kick the hornets nest I just can’t do it now, even though it is the 49ers. I really feel for the fans. I mean, if all of this has me scratching and shakng my head, I can only imagine what the fans are thinkng.
    When the Seahawks shook up the team in 2011, I was having a hard time with it but it has worked out well since then.
    Change is never easy.
    I hope all goes well 49ers fans. Only time will tell.
    Good Luck

  161. nvl004 says: Mar 9, 2015 2:06 PM

    Brett Favre announced his retirement twice, then worked a way to end up on a new team both times.

  162. zackattack006 says: Mar 9, 2015 2:19 PM

    Wow and Ouch!!!!

  163. senoreno says: Mar 9, 2015 2:27 PM

    Out with the old in with the new

  164. MosesZD says: Mar 9, 2015 2:34 PM

    1. Crabtree isn’t talented, he’s a joke who has been pumped-up by the media in some sort of name-recognition thing you often see with pedestrian NFL players that were big names in college. Stevie Smith is a better WR and Smith isn’t really all that good.

    2. Justin Smith will be missed especially as they released McDonald over a false rape accusation occurred after the false domestic violence accusation. (Note to McDonald, get a new GF and new friends, your choices to-date suck.)

    3. Willis will be replaced by Borland. And while Borland’s not as good as Willis, Bowman has been the better ILB for years now and the team shouldn’t fall down too much.

    4. Iupati can’t pass block and won’t fit into the zone blocking scheme the new offense will be running. You’ll also notice there aren’t a ton of ‘signing rumors’ surrounding him.

    5. Gore was worn out and the 49ers were relying on Hyde in critical running situations last year. When he goes to Philly, I suspect he’s going to fall to earth and people will see it was the 49er o-line that’s been carrying him for quite some time.

  165. u4iadman says: Mar 9, 2015 2:34 PM

    From SB and Conf Playoffs, to basement, just like that.
    Moronic owner and GM.

    LOL

  166. mmsierra says: Mar 9, 2015 2:36 PM

    Gore, Willis, and Justin Smith WOULD NOT have left if Jim Harbaugh remained the Head Coach
    This is fallout from his firing
    Crabtree was expected to leave by mutual desire
    Iupati is leaving because the Niners are going cheap
    Good Grief

  167. whenwilliteverend says: Mar 9, 2015 2:43 PM

    Keep in mind, a toe injury doomed Jack Lambert and led to his eventual retirement.

    I’m a Patrick Willis fan even though I’m not a Niners fan. He was a bad man. It will be sad to see him go.

    I hope he enjoys the rest of the life. He’s going to be missed.

  168. jaranspringer says: Mar 9, 2015 2:45 PM

    Bludgeon Bludgeon Bludgeon Bludgeon!

  169. frankfortschooldropout says: Mar 9, 2015 2:45 PM

    This looks more like a 5 alarm fire exodus than a rebuilding under a new regime thing.

  170. ronfai says: Mar 9, 2015 2:49 PM

    People losing their poop over this news. JS retiring was and is no surprise, he was been talking retirement after every season the last 3-4 seasons. Docket was a savvy signing and we know we were going to need Tank to step up for this D line to be remain strong.

    Willis is a shocker, but Borland has showed he’s already one of the best MLB in the league, teamed up with a healthy Bowman: Niners are golden.

    Haters can keep on, but niners fans need to get a grip.

  171. ronfai says: Mar 9, 2015 2:54 PM

    FALSE

    Gore, Willis, and Justin Smith WOULD NOT have left if Jim Harbaugh remained the Head Coach
    This is fallout from his firing
    Crabtree was expected to leave by mutual desire
    Iupati is leaving because the Niners are going cheap
    Good Grief
    ————————————————
    1. Niners are not going to match the multi-million dollar offer Eagles gave for an aged Gore 2. Willis has not shown any indication whatsoever to be influenced by the coaching staff – he elected surgery and sat out remainder of season – with Harb on coaching staff 3. JS is a huge fan of Tomsula and would be the ONLY reason he’d choose to stay on after discussing retirement each of the last 3 seasons. 4. Iupati was destined to be a cap casualty – real niner fans knew this seasons ago, especially emboldened when Niners drafted Brandon Thomas in last years draft.

  172. sdcharger123 says: Mar 9, 2015 3:09 PM

    Wow. Willis’ retirement is a huge surprise. He’s pulling a Barry Sanders and getting out early.

  173. heybackatyou says: Mar 9, 2015 3:11 PM

    annes22 says:
    Mar 9, 2015 11:57 AM

    Kaepernick will be the only decent one left very soon.
    ———————————————————-
    Hate to break it to you, but a real NFL QB can not just lock onto one receiver and be successful.

  174. bassplucker says: Mar 9, 2015 3:14 PM

    Remember that Bears team last year that was 5-11 but felt like more like 1-15 because they were such a cluster in every way? That’s the Niners in 2015.

  175. PhD says: Mar 9, 2015 3:17 PM

    A turf toe that never really healed and some newfound jesus illusion are the real reasons he’s calling it quits. It saves the team lots of money so better this than having him hang on while lingering injury or religiosity mean he doesn’t perform well. It was a great run while it lasted but let’s be honest, his best days are behind him.

  176. dexterismyhero says: Mar 9, 2015 3:27 PM

    @And, yes, a toe can do that. Just ask Deion Sanders.
    ================================

    hahahaha, now that is funny…Deion’s toe caused him to only have 11 tackles in his career?

  177. TomsulasMustache says: Mar 9, 2015 3:27 PM

    Still feeling pretty good about the Jerome Simpson signing though.

  178. seahwaksarewack says: Mar 9, 2015 3:31 PM

    The replacements are in place people

    Willis = Borland (would of been rookie defense player of the year if he played the whole season.

    Gore = Hyde (ask the Seahawks how he powered through their wimpy defense)

    Smith = Dockett

    Crabtree = anyone that can walk

    Not gonna be as bad as you haters make it out to be

    Go Niners!!!

  179. wallyspo says: Mar 9, 2015 3:45 PM

    The replacements are in place? What about the HC? They replaced a helluva coach (albeit a bit of a diva) with the village idiot. You can replace all the players you want in terms of talent, but you lost a lot of leadership that would have come in handy when Tomsula is tripping over his words trying to rally the troops in the locker room.

    3-13

  180. kvt7280 says: Mar 9, 2015 3:52 PM

    Really not surprised by Justin Smith, so I’m glad we have Dockett and Tank Carradine. Willis is a little surprised but not so much because he’s been injured A LOT and we need that cap space. Recovering the bonuses isn’t a huge deal really as long as both stay retired.

  181. rationalitybias says: Mar 9, 2015 4:47 PM

    Never really watch college football but when I saw an Ole Miss/Florida game with him, amazing. He is still the second or third best ILB. Watch Bowman become an even bigger stud though. But Willis did everything too.

  182. drunkwino says: Mar 9, 2015 5:02 PM

    I wondered why I saw that mushroom cloud out in western sky.

  183. ocgunslinger says: Mar 9, 2015 10:53 PM

    Unfortunately management is key to any sucessful organization. The Niners are screwed.

  184. taintedsaints2009 says: Mar 10, 2015 12:38 AM

    The Willis news is probably the most surprising I can remember years. This is one hectic offseason, that’s for sure. I haven’t seen this kind of free agency maybe ever!

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