Borland’s family knew all year his first season could be his last

AP

Chris Borland told his family from the beginning that he might play only one year in the NFL.

Borland, the Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate who shocked the football world by announcing that his rookie season would be his last, has been telling his loved ones that from Day One. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that Borland told his family before the season started that his career might only last a year, and as a result his parents and all five of his siblings made a point of getting to the games so they could see his career while it lasted.

It’s unclear whether Borland also told the 49ers or his teammates that he was thinking of walking away after a year. There were no indications heading into last year’s NFL draft that Borland was planning such a short career. The 49ers drafted him in the third round.

Borland’s dad told Garafolo that he’s proud of his son for making the decision that was right for him.

“I think maybe it’s one of those affirming things as a parent, you know, that maybe somewhere along the line you accidentally did something right,” Jeff Borland said. “Chris has had a great network of friends and family, beginning with his sister and brothers. So when it came time to make the decision, the support for his decision was unanimous and very positive. And I think maybe that helped him do it.”

Borland made a decision few would make, but from all accounts it was the right decision for himself and his family.

82 responses to “Borland’s family knew all year his first season could be his last

  1. Everybody has to walk on their own path. Good for him. Do the 9’er’s really lift weights while wearing their uni’s and pads?

  2. This one is going to hurt the 9er’s in so many ways. Wasted draft pick from last year. Loss of a potential superstar LB. The niner’s are is real scramble mode now.

  3. I understand why he did it (not that I agree with it, you don’t get many chances to make that kind of money, and there is no guarantee something else won’t happen to prevent a “long healthy life”, but it’s not my decision to make), but if you had those idea in your head on the time, it is, to say the least, extremely shady to not tell teams thinking about drafting you the same thing

    I can just about guarantee that he doesn’t get drafted in the 3rd if teams knew there was a chance he’d call it a career in 10 months. If I’m the 9ers, I go after him for every penny of that signing bonus they are entitled to under the CBA

  4. Why even play in the first place? If he knew he was only going to play one season, he should have quit before the season last year!

  5. This is information that I’m sure NFL GMs would have appreciated knowing at this time last year.

  6. The guy can do what he wants, but if he went into this thinking he would probably play only one season and didn’t say anything to the team, it’s not really a cool move. The 49ers have been making plans for the future under the assumption that Borland would be there. Now he’s gone a week into free agency?

  7. That’s swell, Chris … but since you’ve known about this for months, any chance you could have told your team A WEEK OR TWO AGO, when they still could have signed a top free agent linebacker to replace you? I certainly respect your decision … but not your delay in telling the team.

  8. As a Niner fan the only thing I’m mad about is how he knew before being drafted that 2014 could be his only year playing. Did he let the Niner’s brass know this before he was drafted and cashed that paycheck!?!?!?!?

  9. Russell Wilson ended his tweet with I’ll Pray For You

    Upon further review, not necessary Russ

  10. Its surprising and disappointing as a 9ers fan but ultimately he decided not to play a GAME anymore.. Now it would have been nice to know earlier cause maybe we could of got a FA like weatherspoon maybe.

  11. It’s his call… Tell the team and they cut him..he played at a 100% level … Do you really think a team lets a player know what they are thinking regarding their status???… Hate the game not the player!

  12. It seems like every year the football gods pick out one team to have the offseason from hell. Looks like it’s the Niners turn this year.

  13. This is a very complicated issue. Every athlete will have to make his own decision about the benefits versus the risks. But what we are seeing is a stampede driven by exaggeration and money. I am not minimizing the risks, but there is a massive pool of money former players are trying to get their hands on and this has greatly exaggerated the long term effects issue. For every player who claims to have long term consequences to his concussion issues, there are many more who had many concussions without any significant problems, to name a few, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach etc. Many laborers, policemen and a variety of workers risk their health in their work as well. As a physician this strikes me as a large over-swing of the pendulum. While it is clear that some players with chronic brain syndromes exists and do suffer the results, the additional attempt to link this to suicide is at best very sketchy. You are talking about a group of athletes who also have personal problems, take many prescription and non-prescription drugs, and many have male ego problems as well. I wish Borland good luck but predict he will be back playing within a year.

  14. Why do I feel like the Niners will seek some kind of legal action? I’m SURE that the NFL will seek some kind of signing bonus limitations during the next CBA negotiations. Then, there will be slotted salary AND signing bonuses…but STILL get the benefits of “non profit” status!

  15. Two way street-Owners/GMs/teams dump players all the time. They don’t give players hints that they are going to cut a guy a year ahead of time. There are things in place to recover part of his contract. Don’t blame him one bit. But I don’t blame a team when they cut people they have signed but don’t fulfill expectations of a signing.

  16. Its amazing how and why some people are on him, its his life, his decision to make. People being critical of him are a bunch of clowns, i cant come to your house and stomp on your couch and tell you to get the hell out.

  17. First of all, the article states it was something he discussed, not planned.

    Second, these teams sign agreements with players all of the time knowing full well they will not honor the agreement in a year or two.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  18. Total crap. What do you think an NFL team would pay for a 3rd round pick? Borland basically stole that from the Niners. If you don’t want to play then don’t declare for the draft and don’t sign a 4 year contract.

  19. And also the draft hasnt happened right.. yeah about that, they can draft a need now.. he could have been an a..hole and retired after the draft then you will know being screwed.

  20. This isn’t the old NFL. As a third round pick it is not like he is walking away from a fortune. Decent money bu not enough to set him up for life under his contract.

    I like how these teams are all super underhanded when dealing with the players and their contracts but once a player decides to walk away all of a sudden these teams are victims.

    ———————————————————–

    sumkat says:
    Mar 17, 2015 1:18 PM
    I understand why he did it (not that I agree with it, you don’t get many chances to make that kind of money, and there is no guarantee something else won’t happen to prevent a “long healthy life”, but it’s not my decision to make), but if you had those idea in your head on the time, it is, to say the least, extremely shady to not tell teams thinking about drafting you the same thing

    I can just about guarantee that he doesn’t get drafted in the 3rd if teams knew there was a chance he’d call it a career in 10 months. If I’m the 9ers, I go after him for every penny of that signing bonus they are entitled to under the CBA

  21. This is why they need to put padding on the OUTSIDE of the helmet too. They say the players don’t like it because it doesn’t “look cool”. I say it has proven (without any statistical downside) to greatly reduce initial impact shock through dispersion to the cranium.
    Google Don Bebe’s helmet.
    He should wear one like that.
    I want players to be as safe as possible but the lack of hitting in the NFL is turning me off to the game.

  22. Does Trent Baalke give his current players advance notice that he might cut them in the offseason? Of course not.

  23. Did I miss something? I don’t recall reading ANYTHING in the article that says he had doubts about the potential length of his NFL career PRIOR to the draft.

  24. Did I miss something? I don’t recall reading ANYTHING in the article that says he had doubts about the potential length of his NFL career PRIOR to the draft. I took it that some time between training camp and the start of the actual season is when hid doubts began.

  25. Some of you are pretty funny when you say he shouldn’t have entered the draft or should’ve quit the team before the season since he thought he ‘might’ only play one year.

    Let me ask this: When you are thinking about looking for a new job, do you quit your current job before you decide if you want to seek employment elsewhere?

  26. “Why even play in the first place? If he knew he was only going to play one season, he should have quit before the season last year!”

    Because nfl rookie minimum is something like 550k and as a 3rd rounder he would have gotten more.

    A decent job in the US pays 50k a year. So one year at nfl minimum is the same a 7 years working a 50k a year job. He got a big head start on life and then protected his health.

  27. His team put their trust, plans and money on him, with him knowing all along he may bail after one season. Yeah that’s pretty weak. Hopefully he gets a safe desk job.

  28. At this point I would be surprised if the 49ers don’t have double-digit losses this season. The wheels have fallen off.

    Lost too much talent at both the coaching positions and the positions on the field.

  29. If he revealed his intentions he might not have even been drafted.

    I wonder what he’d do if he didn’t get all of those snaps in the middle due to injury. If he were to remain a backup it’d be interesting to see if her were to stick around.

    Awfull timing though and as much as it’s his decision – come on man, if his intentions were to only play a year then why not make this decision sooner? Put the team in a really tough spot and i resent him for that.

  30. Easy for fans to criticize a decision like this, from home, on their couch, never having a concussion….

    HOWEVER, lets just say that the team knows they are going to cut a player after their next season, whether to save cap space or to upgrade. Do they tell the player before the season, or do they wait until the season is over?

    Funny how we expect players to be so loyal when teams are not. I love Borland and really enjoyed watching him at Wisconsin, but good for him. Life is too short to live it how others want.

  31. This guy gets to say “I played in the NFL” the rest of his life. I get his reasoning for playing that one year. Kind of unethical not to let the team know I guess, but it’s nice seeing a player get over for once instead of the other way around. If he comes in and blows out his achilles or underperforms in rookie camp, they could easily have cut him and nobody would bat an eye.

  32. Or he thought he would just ride the bench watching P Willis for a few years then “retire”…

    And why is this all about concussions? He has had 2 and 1 was from soccer.

  33. As a corrections officer, I too have to deal with injury. When we sign our contracts Every 4 yrs or so. There is no clause saying I can and will quit if an inmate assaults me ( which in 17 yrs I have had plenty of injuries to include 2 concussions.) I knew that was part of my job and needed to provide for my family. He knew going in that he had thoughts of quiting. He was dishonest with the 9ers. They wasted s draft pick and lost a starter. Click thumbs down..but it’s the truth. He’s selfish. He let his team mates down. Wonder if he had thoughts of other players health while smashing them? Now give up millions for your family…and get a real job now for much less. Welcome to the suk, chris

  34. Who cares, guys rotate in and out of the league annually for a variety of reasons. This guy obviously has other options and didn’t feel like playing any more. However I’m not sure he’s the hero anyone is making him out to be, he’s a quitter for now. I hope it works out for him in the long run but then again he’ll never know.

  35. “I think maybe it’s one of those affirming things as a parent, you know, that maybe somewhere along the line you accidentally did something right,” Jeff Borland said.

    you mean teaching your kids to lie to their employers and pretend to really want to be drafted and play in the NFL so that a team will waste a draft pick while your kid selfishly decides to quit one year later?

    yeah, good work dad.

  36. “It’s unclear whether Borland also told the 49ers or his teammates that he was thinking of walking away after a year.”

    Seriously… even as a third round pick, no team would waste it on a guy who they KNEW was only going to play one year.

    “Borland’s dad told Garafolo that he’s proud of his son for making the decision that was right for him.”

    Dad… your son is a fraud and was only after a payday. the 49er’s should go after him hard and get their money back.

  37. At least he retired so that he isn’t snagging anymore money. Unlike Larry Sanders of the NBA who just quit in the middle of a huge, fully guaranteed contract.

  38. I guess it’s brave to walk away from a lot of money but it’s a total jerk move to let a team waste a relatively high draft pick on you when you know you’re only in it for a year.

  39. Players are cut and traded at a drop of a hate. Sometimes players are traded and then traded again without playing a down for the team. And teams do it without informing the player all the time. This impacts not only the player but their families. No fan ever utters a peep when that happens. Most you get is a shoulder shrug and a “Oh well that’s business”. Borland owes no one outside his family any heads up.

  40. Let me get this right, it’s not OK for Chris Borland to basically have his mind made up that his rookie season would be his last but it’s OK for teams to say that at the end of the season we are going to cut this guy?

  41. “wrathofrathman says:
    Mar 17, 2015 1:44 PM
    Total crap. What do you think an NFL team would pay for a 3rd round pick? Borland basically stole that from the Niners. If you don’t want to play then don’t declare for the draft and don’t sign a 4 year contract.”

    Did I miss something? Since when did NFL player contracts become fully guaranteed?

  42. Third rounders retiring after one year happens to the Niners every five years. Glen Coffee (2009) approves this move by Chris Borland (2014) to walk away. Chris Culliver and Frank Gore were third round picks as well and they walked away (from SF). Navorro Bowman was a third round pick too. Is he next?

  43. So for all you guys who say Borland didn’t owe the 9ers anything – what about his teammates? Didn’t he owe them anything? The 49er players enrich themselves by playing for a successful team. When a player knowingly allows himself to be picked in the 3rd round while also planning his retirement it hurts his teammates. It’s one thing for a team to cut a player due to subpar play or to trade him for something in return but it’s quite dishonest to accept a job and money knowing it was a temp job. The employer is investing in your long term success but your in it for the short term. It’s just dishonest.

  44. Wow most of the comments here are just flat out dumb. He owes NOTHING to the 49ers or to the NFL. As a free American, he has the choice to do what is best for himself and his family with regards to his work situations. I have read some of y’all would kill to be in his position, have worse job conditions for much less pay, and think that is a reason for him to do something he does not want to do.

    For the mouth breathers saying he owes the 49ers something for spending a 3rd round pick on him, I say: boy you are a selfish son-of-a-b!tch. Instead of working out 3 times a day, 365 days a year for 15+ years, you went out and partied with your friends. Instead of studying the playbook with every waking breath, you chose to watch the Kardashians and American Idol. Instead of eating clean for EVERY meal, you chose to get that second helping of pecan pie, drink that extra beer, and devour bacon by the handful. You could have been drafted by your favorite team and help them over the hump to get a super bowl! But instead, you opted to do what you wanted with your life and criticize other people who are choosing to do what they want with their life.

    I love how we always want to come to the defense of BILLIONAIRES because a player got arrested or quits at a time that you deem as too early. Don’t worry, Jed York is not losing one second of sleep knowing that a rookie has quit his team. And Borland quitting is NOT the reason the 49ers are going to suck this year. I bet y’all are missing Harbaugh right about now huh.

  45. The NFL is just one of many dangerous jobs, it just happens to pay the best. Hard to imagine any NFL team will hire him so I’m not sure what he majored in but I hope it will provide a nice, safe, desk job.

  46. NFL Contracts are essentially year to year contracts anyway, and there is no loyalty. Funny that when it works the other way everyone sides with the team, not the player.

    Boreland owes the 49ers nothing. And as an American he can do what he wants.

  47. First of all, a 24-year old that has been “on the job” for one season, whether it be Football or McDonald’s, does not “retire.”

    He quit, walked away, whatever you want to call it, but it isn’t retirement.

    The definition of retirement includes “ceasing to work.” And I doubt at 24 that’s what he’s doing.

    As someone who spent 25 years in the military and actually “retired”, the constant use of this term when it doesn’t truly apply is irritating!

  48. So there was no concern for his health while playing Pop Warner, High School, and College football. But once he got to the NFL where he would get paid for putting his future health at jeopardy he decides to quit. Because you can only suffer head trauma or other life long injuries in the NFL. Makes sense.

    Pretty sure this is going to change how teams draft up contracts.

  49. Something about this decision rubs me the wrong way. Didn’t the 49ers get screwed here? I’m not sure how you can say this decision is brave when he is worried about the future as opposed to anything now. He’s basically telling him that he’s scared of what might happen. I guess that’s his decision, but I don’t see the need to praise him. I also think teams are going to find a way to see if their first round draft picks are going to quit after a year or two

  50. Its funny. Player can instantly retire/quit/leave the game at a short notice and get ridiculed for it.

    But yet, owners can cut these guys whenever they want and basically tell them bye, and we aren’t cool with that either? So where is the middle??

    Honestly, the kid is 24, realizes that his NFL shelf life (should he stay healthy) is probably until 30 the oldest, and by then will probably sustain injuries that will hamper him when he hits his 40s and 50s.

    Owners are just as quick to cut a kid as he was to retire. In my opinion, with how contracts are constructed in the NFL, he may be one of the smartest to ever play the game. Thing is, the kid was good too. If he sucked, this wouldn’t even be a topic.

    Tip your hat to him.

  51. Lots of pencil pushers, burger flippers and “bloggers” on here jumping on Borland for deciding to walk away from the game…I wonder how many of them have ever taken a hit in an NFL game. He didn’t lie to anybody and maybe shame on the 49ers for not doing their homework.

  52. mancave001 says: Mar 17, 2015 4:54 PM

    Something about this decision rubs me the wrong way. Didn’t the 49ers get screwed here?
    —-
    Yeah, the team did get screwed in a way, but certainly no worse than they have screwed players in the past.

    So this kid worked his whole life to be a great player, get a scholarship, then work some more to make it to the NFL, and gets picked in the 3rd round.

    But while he was busting his butt trying to make it, several stories about former players come out, and concussions are to blame for a lot of health issues with former players. The kid isn’t stupid, and he does some research, and doesn’t like what he finds.

    But here he is, realizing his dream, and everyone around him is both extremely proud, and pretty concerned. So he tells them he is going to try it for a year or two, and see how things go, and see if he gets his bell rung, and what happens after that.

    Then he gets the concussion, and he knows how it makes him feel, both physically and mentally. And he decides he is likely to get more of them, and that the risk isn’t worth the potential problems later in life.

    Take your hat off to the kid. Most guys his age can’t see past the weekend, and he made what had to be a very difficult decision that cost him millions.

  53. I’m not PC on this. He could’ve told prospective teams his feelings at the combine. They could’ve signed him as a free agent or if they wanted to gamble, drafted and signed him for a guaranteed year and hope he would like to stick around. Not factor him into their long term plans. The Niners wasted a draft pick. Not on a guy who had a freak injury, but a guy who wanted to taste the life. It’s a pretty selfish move because it affects not only the organization and teammates,but guys who could’ve been taken instead or drafted at a different spot. He’s played the game his entire life so injury isn’t a revelation, it’s a known quantity. I don’t wish ill on him, I’m just not on board with him keeping this a family secret instead of being upfront about it.

  54. To the critics, how many 3rd round picks even come close to nearly becoming defensive rookie of the year.

    The young man played way above most 3rd rounder’s and the 9er’s got more than their money’s worth from his play on the field. Stop futurizing on what could have been.

    It’s not Borland’s fault 9er’s management decided to self-implode and the team is now scrambling to become competitive again. Borland’s decision was his and his alone to make.

    If you want to point fingers start first with the 3 pointing back at yourself.

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