Patrick Willis: “I’ve given this game everything I had”


A tearful Patrick Willis announced his retirement from the 49ers today, saying that he has decided he did everything he set out to do in the game of football.

“I’ve given this game everything I had,” Willis said. “I’ve had the most amazing eight years of football in my entire life being part of this historic organization.”

Willis indicated that the primary reason he’s retiring is that he’s suffered injuries to both feet. Willis said he thinks God gave him feet that let him move like a great player, but those feet no longer have anything left.

“If I had anything left in these feet — you’ve all seen me, I broke my hand on a Sunday, had surgery on a Monday and played with a cast on Thursday — but it’s something about these feet. When you don’t have feet, for me, that’s what has made me who I am,” Willis said.

Willis said he loves playing football but wants to be healthy for the rest of his life.

“Football has been everything to me and it’s provided an amazing platform to me,” Willis said. “It’s my health first.”

As a result, Willis is walking away while he still can.

62 responses to “Patrick Willis: “I’ve given this game everything I had”

  1. Smart choice, Patrick. I start to wonder, though, if you still come back if 49ers ownership didn’t throw Harbaugh under the bus. Anyways, even as an AZ fan, pleasure to watch such an outstanding pro like you play the game the right way. Such a class act. You should be a lock for the Hall of Fame like Larry Fitzgerald. Have a safe, pleasant & healthy retirement!

  2. Reached the heights few people, or even players, get to dream of, being on the top of the heap as maybe the NFL’s best linebacker for most of his tenure. Always played with intensity. As a 30-plus-year 49er fan, this hurt yesterday, and it still hurts, but I understand, and wish Patrick all the best, and a happy life in retirement. Hopefully Borland can take some of the sting out of it.

  3. Die hard Hawks fan here… I have nothing but admiration and respect for Patrick Willis. An incredibly talented and hard-working player. When my girlfriend started following football a few years back and chose the Niners as her team it was an easy choice to get her a Willis jersey.

  4. It seems like just yesterday that 49ers fans and Panthers fans were arguing over whether Willis or Jon Beason was the best MLB in the game. Of course, being a Panthers fan I never liked the 49ers but Willis was fun to watch. This leaves quite a hole in the 49ers D.

  5. We can all learn from your unrelenting work ethic and desire to be the best. Thank you for everything. You were a pleasure to watch and truly what makes this game great. You will be talked about for generations to come. Thanks for the memories.

    -Vikings fan

  6. i think he is right,if you can’t move the way you were used to moving ,then why go out and take unneeded punishment and ruin your legacy? the first thing to go are your legs.

  7. Hats off to one hell of a competitor . The NFCW just became a little less brutal with his retirement.

  8. Had a few good years, but overall a bit overrated.
    Seems like a good guy, family many, community service etc.
    Not to be confused with the felons on the team who have mandatory community service.

  9. Good to great player but not a Hall Of Famer not a long enough resume being only 8 years. Others with short careers in the Hall of Fame we considered the greatest seen until they were hurt, Patrick was an incredible player but don’t think he get’s in the HALL

  10. Says everything you need to know about posters in her saying overrated and play for a crappy organization….dude was and is all class, not that you could recognize that

  11. Great great player, but it’s true if his feet aren’t right he ain’t gonna be the player he was. Much respect for him to do this. If he’s a shell of his former self that’s useless for the miners. I saw it with urlacher and my bears. At some point injuries and time get to all great players. Glad he’ll be able to walk away (literally) in good health, pleasure watching this guy play the last 8 years.

  12. Sad to see him go. One of the true greats. I wish him the best in his post NFL career.

    To the trolls, go find something better to do. This isn’t the time or place for your nonsense.

  13. Anyone who doesn’t think this player was the MLB of his era either never paid attention or is just “hating”. #52 brought it every Sunday and was a true gentleman off the field.

  14. I don’t know what it was about his brief speech, but it moved me. It sounded like he left the game a humbled man, with a new purpose in life. Good luck to you Mr. Willis.

  15. Much respect to Willis.dude was a strait up for the Niners, you guys are in some deep doo doo. Good luck.

  16. Every time my Bears played the Niners I wished we could have drafted him. Hell of a player and it speaks volumes to his perspective and maturity that he’s willing to go out now with his healthy rather than milk out 2 or 3 more years going 70% just to put more money in the bank.

  17. Too bad his career’s so short as a linebacker. That will not get him into the hall of fame, but he was good. He’s right in the fact that if the footwork gets messed up because of foot problems, you are severely hampered and he is smart to hang it up while he still can walk. I still remember players like Mike McCrary who may not walk well the rest of his life because of the damage he did to his legs in his career.

  18. Man this stinks as a football fan. This guy was a joy to watch. The way he played was truly amazing giving it his all every play. Outstanding human being just put a stamp on this man. No doubt he is a hall of famer.


  19. The league is a lesser place without you Mr. Willis. You were the best LB anyone has seen this decade and I’m glad you were able to get out on your own terms and with your health. All Class, All Pro.

  20. One of the classiest players to play for the most storied franchise in the NFL. More classy then the dirtballs on Seattle that is for sure..

  21. It’s easier to give you a thumbs-up in a comment section than it is to come to a game in Levi’s and actually give you some noise.
    -Signed, lazy 49ers fans everywhere.

  22. I wanted to add to my comment. This has been a tough few days in regards to 49ers players. However, it isn’t as bad as many people think it is. I have a feeling Justin Smith will come back and we did add Dockett on the DL. Willis is gone, and he will be missed, but Borland is right behind him. Brooks will be gone but Lynch proved to be a better player last year. Gore is gone but we have Hyde and Hunter will be back from Injury. Crabtree is gone and I am glad. He never panned out and it looks like we’ll be getting T Smith. Iupati will be missed but we have a lot of extra money to address the OL and CB positions. I don’t think this has turned out as bad as many people think it is on the surface.

  23. The 49ers will be OK as long as Kaepernick isn’t kept on a lease like last year. If he is allowed to run more often the offense will be better.

  24. Fantastic football player and even better man said his feet wouldn’t allow him to play at the level he came a costumed too anymore choose to leave instead of just collecting a check & follow a higher calling.

    P.s. much love & respect #52 thnx for the memories big dog

  25. Good for him.
    It’s a wise man that recognizes when it’s time to move on. The NFL chews up its athletes and spits them out. Hanging on until one’s body and brain are completely broken down is sadly how it goes for many NFLers. Best of luck in retirement to a great football player.

  26. I don’t care if you hate the 49ers or not, you have to respect Willis. He was a monster on the field and a class act off the field. He will be missed.

  27. Great career and thanks, Pat.
    Too bad the real winning could not have started sooner in your SF career. You deserved better.
    Hopefully, you will be in the HOF one day.
    That being said, looking forward as a fan of the team, we have plenty of options. Borland, Bow and Wilhoite, are legit inside backers. Fourth stringer Nick Moody even played well.
    We’ll be fine.

  28. #7 Adrian Peterson
    #10 Marshawn Lynch
    #13 Patrick Willis
    #14 Darelle Revis
    #16 Justin Harrell…OUCH!

    So close, yet so far away. #missing rings

    Mad respect for the man, ferocious competitor.

  29. I was amazed, watching him play for Ole Miss and San Fran…For the vast majority of his career he was everything you would want in a linebacker, the best in the game for several years. Balled-out on some really bad teams and never cried about it. Leaving this early due to injury is the price you sometimes pay for playing the game the right way, I suppose…

  30. Absolute warrior. Any intelligent fan would see and recognize. Although as a fan I’m heartbroken, it’s foolish to put my thoughts first. Good luck and God bless to an amazing athlete, role model and another Niner hall of famer.

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