49ers announce Patrick Willis is retiring


It’s official: Patrick Willis’s days as an NFL player are done.

The 49ers announced today that Willis, their five-time first-team All-Pro linebacker, is retiring at the age of 30.

“On behalf of the entire San Francisco 49ers organization, my family, and our Faithful fans, I would like to thank Patrick for everything he has brought to this team and our community,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement released by the team. “Some of the greatest memories in the history of our franchise have come from his passion, dedication and sacrifice. Patrick epitomizes everything you could ever want in a San Francisco 49er. What he brought to this team goes much further than his athletic abilities. His leadership and infectious love for the game helped propel this team. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up around some of the greatest players in the history of this franchise, and Patrick has certainly secured his place among that elite group of men. As a member of our family, Patrick holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to supporting him as he moves on from his playing career.”

It came as a big surprise when news broke on Monday that Willis is walking away, and it comes as a disappointment to the 49ers and their fans. But Willis’s mind appears to be made up, and he has played the last game of his great career.

69 responses to “49ers announce Patrick Willis is retiring

  1. WAY too early, but I’m sure he had reasons that over ruled that. Not a 49ers fan, but Willis was an amazing player and his talent will be missed. Good luck, Patrick!

  2. Congrats: Enjoy your retirement….You were awesome and much respect given for your Hall of Fame Career…..

  3. As a Seahawk fan, Patrick Willis was the epitome of class and how to play football “the right way” and he’ll be rewarded as such when his turn in the HOF comes.

  4. Football is not everything. Maybe he has some other things that he wants to pursue. It is shocking but it’s his life and who are we to judge him for making a decision about his future, regardless of age.

    Good luck Pat! It’s been fun watching you play!

  5. I am going to miss Willis. He and Gore are the Niners that never let me down on and most importantly off the field.

    Thank you Willis. I will proudly wear your jersey

  6. Good luck to Patrick Willis in retirement. He was a great player and great fun to watch during his career.

    He’s also smart as a whip to abandon that sinking ship because 3-13 is starting to look optimistic to me.

    The Niners management team is going to challenge Jerry Jones in the NFL history books as the No. 1 set of incompetent big wigs.

  7. Surprising, in a way. A freakish athlete, and a great football player. The 49er’s defense took a few steps back, today.
    Enjoy your retirement, Pat … !

    SKOL 🙂

  8. Don’t worry folks Dork and his self-proclaimed puppet Baalke have a plan…They will win with class. Two of the most out of touch fools in sports…

  9. Wow! Harbaugh would have never let this happen. I kid I kid. I think.

    But this is HUGE loss for the 49ers.
    The strength of their defense was their linebackers. Just like the strength of the Hawks is their secondary. Now with Bowman still not right and Willis retires this team is in trouble.

  10. Speak softly and carry a big stick. That’s what I loved about his game. Willis didn’t celebrate like a clown each and every time he kicked your ass. He expected to kick your ass. What a shame for anyone who loves football that life pulled his elsewhere.

  11. Very sad news thank you 52 for everything you have done for 49er Nation you will be missed but you always will be a Niner!

  12. What?

    Pretty shocked to be honest.

    I always had lots of respect for him as a hawks fan. I can’t recall a year he wasn’t talked about being the best ilb besides last year due to injury.

  13. Honestly patrick is going to go out as one of the biggest quiters in the history of football. The man claims hes a man of god but quits his job of trying to win a superbowl. When thing started getting bad for the niners he was the only 1 to jump ship. #ringless

  14. 30yrs old, got enough money I live on, had better career then most in half the time. Has not had body tore up to bad. Not bad way to start out your 30s

  15. Best of luck in the future Patrick. I enjoyed watching you play. I’m happy for you that you are leaving while still healthy.

  16. With the risk of CTE hanging over his head, I think Patrick decided he had earned enough money and taken enough risk. Good for him. Given the nature of brain injury, he likely can only guess how many times he has been concussed, but his guess is better than any NFL statistic.

  17. Hats off to Willis for an incredible career. Consummate professional whom you never heard a bad word about.

    After reading so many heartbreaking post-football stories about brain injuries, depression, and suicide, I have nothing but respect for players who want walk away from the game to keep their minds and bodies intact. A pro football career is a small fraction of a lifetime. Good luck, Pat!

  18. Selfishly I will miss watching him run the sidelines but you can’t fault a man for being true to himself. Great career and and even better person.

  19. As a Cards fan, I hated watching him blow our running backs up for years. But, as a football fan, the guy was something special to watch. Good luck to him in his post-football years.

  20. What can you say about Patrick Willis that isn’t already known;

    From few chances to meet the man I have to say that he is more than just a football player but a role model and someone to be admired; from the way he handles himself on and off the field and the inspiration and insight he can give to others. It’s no secret that the 49ers will miss you, (especially now) but with all you have brought to the table for the team, fans and the franchise we thank you and wish you nothing but success in the future!

    Most sincerely – The Faithful

  21. There is word circulating on talk radio and NFLN that his foot injuries didn’t heal as well as expected and he decided to not do further damage.

    But no go ahead and blame a GM…. idiots.

  22. As a Seahawks fan, this news saddens me. He still had a few seasons left in him, but I understand he had his reasons for walking away from the game. Football takes a toll on the body. He definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was a dominant linebacker for just about every year he was in the league. I was looking forward to many years of the Seahawks-49ers rivalry, in the hopes that it would be the 2010s version of the Patriots-Colts rivalry. Not sure if that will happen anymore, but I have nothing but respect for Willis. Best of wishes in whatever he decides to do now.

  23. Is it me or has SF suddenly become a train wreck? Only a short time ago they were contenders for the division and the Super Bowl, now they are more like pretenders and becoming the joke of the league…

  24. Thumper, always remember him meeting Adrian Peterson in the hole, stood him straight up and knocked him back. Tells you all you need to know about what kind of linebacker he was.

  25. Leave the game with your body/mind intact AND millions of dollars in the bank.
    Bravo Patrick!!!

  26. What a privilege to see Patrick Willis’ career com day one. He played the game with the passion and desire of the great ones, and as a lifelong 49er fan, i will forever have much love and respect for #52!

    You will be missed P. Willie!!!

    49ers FAITHFUL 4 LIFE!!!!

  27. As a Red Bird fan I sure hate to see him go. I loved seeing him play. He went hard. But I am not mad. 30 is still young and there is no need to bash ur brain around in your head longer than you have to. May preserve his sanity in the long run.

    NFL causes head trauma and perhaps this is good for an LB who is in on every play. See u on NFL Network or Fox Sports 1 or ESPN as an analyst big dog.

  28. I’d love to hear some quotes from Willis about his decision. Is it because of his toe, or long term health? Just curious. Best of luck to him, great player

  29. So why isn’t anyone in the media reporting WHY he’s retiring?

  30. Best wishes to you Patrick, one of my all-time favorites in any sport. You’re the defensive equivalent of Barry Sanders, amazing talent with plenty of class and grace. We will miss you greatly as fans.

  31. I see a lot of respect and love here for a Niner. That is really rare. We got a lot of haters. Its pretty obvious everyone new he was a baller.

    I can tell you as a Niner fan, who has seen just about every single game PW played. He was difference maker on every snap. When he was off the field we were not as good. Plain and simple. I will miss his ability to bring down anyone immediately. Very few LBs can match a RB step for step, PW can. PW reminds me of Ronnie Lott. They tackle the same way. We are gonna miss this dude bigtime. You can’t replace this kind of player. Very, very special.

    My two cents worth – PW had a real good relationship with Vic Fangio. His leaving didn’t help the situation.

    Best of luck PW!! We are going to miss you!

  32. ^^^ Chronic toe injury and bigger/better things to do with his time…thank you for the memories #52!

  33. Seahawks fan here but fully admit I loved watching Patrick Willis play football. He was elite from a rookie up until the injury slowed him last year. Class player and man – Wish him the best but hoping he comes back.

  34. Seeing Willis’s tears of heartbreak as he watched the Ravens celebrate their SB win showed me as much as any other image how much heart and soul these guys pour into the game.

  35. Speaks volumes about the dysfunction going on out in San Francisco that their best player and leader is calling it quits and hanging it up at only 30 years old.

    If Bowman can come back, Willis could too.

    The 49ers are falling far and fast…and it’s kind of fitting given how they’ve done it.

  36. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Mar 10, 2015 12:03 PM

    So why isn’t anyone in the media reporting WHY he’s retiring?

    Hes having a press conference today at Noon West Coast Time to explain. Early reports are his heats other places. Religion.

  37. you sir, will be remembered as the consummate professional, teammate, ambassador, and performer…I wish you success in your next stage in life, #Godspeed #ForeverAniner

  38. In the last 8 seasons, he’s made more than $42 M. He would not be a FA again until 2017, when he is 32. The 49ers are dropping to the bottom of the ocean. He’s rich. He knows he’s not going to win a ring. Might as take the money and run.

  39. A lot of sad days for Niner fans, but this is probably one of the worst. We love everything about P Willis. Such a baller and a class act. He’ll be missed.

  40. Man, can’t believe he’s retiring at the age of 30. There’s no way he isn’t capabel of another 2-5 years of elite performance.

    The only time you heard about this guy in the news was when he was doing his job bossing the middle. Excellent player, on and off the field.

  41. Made a bunch of money… Didn’t become greedy… Retiring while he’s still young and at the top of his game… Sounds like he’s a smart man too! Good job PW… Definitely smarter than Wes”concussion”welker!

  42. Best of luck in whatever the future holds for you PW! As a hawks fan, you will be missed. One of the best at his position!!

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