The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Health concerns force NFL talent into early retirement

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

This NFL offseason has seen a slew of players, who still had a lot of productive years left, retire.

Patrick Willis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jake Locker, Jason Worilds and Chris Borland are some of the players who have hung up their cleats for the last time. All are 30 years old or younger.

Although not all of these players said it publicly, it can be speculated that they are not willing to hamper their long-term health despite the stupid amount of money they can make in the NFL.

Willis, 30, is just a few years removed from being arguably the best middle linebacker in the league, but the time was right for him to retire, he said.

“Honestly, I pay attention to guys when they’re finished playing, walking around like they’ve got no hips, and they can’t play with their kids,” he said in his farewell press conference. “People see that and they feel sorry, but they don’t realize it’s because he played a few extra years.”

Locker, at this point, is nothing more than a backup quarterback. He turned down the opportunity to make $3 million to $5 million with the likelihood that he would spend most of next season merely holding a clipboard.

“I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living,” Locker said in a statement. “I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision, and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests.”

Willis’ teammate Borland is an undersized wrecking ball of a middle linebacker who could have easily played over 10 years at a high level. He just finished a stellar rookie season in which he led the San Francisco 49ers in tackles with 107.

Borland, because he was a third-round draft pick in 2014, did not reap the benefits of the lucrative NFL payday he was in line for once his rookie contract expired, but to him waiting was simply not an option.

“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told ESPN’s Outside the Lines. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

Borland and several more young players are leaving millions of dollars on the table in exchange for a longer lifespan. With all the retired NFL players coming out and suing the league for the long-term injuries they have suffered, it is understandable why more players are opting to retire early.

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