Report: Chris Borland retires

Chris Borland is retiring from football to avoid long-term head trauma, according to ESPN Outside the Lines. Borland is 24.

In the report, Borland is quoted as saying, “Is this how I’m going to live my adult life, banging my head, especially with what I’ve learned and knew about the dangers?”

I admire and respect Chris Borland’s decision, and I hope he’s OK.

You may start to see players retire who play positions with a lot of head trauma. This may happen more and more.

Borland leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the 49ers’ defense. The 49ers have taken a lot of blows this offseason, and this is another blow.

UPDATE: The 49ers just released the following written statement from Trent Baalke: “While unexpected, we certainly respect Chris’ decision. From speaking with Chris, it was evident that he had put a great deal of thought into this decision. He was a consummate professional from day one and a very well respected member of our team and community. Chris is a determined young man that overcame long odds in his journey to the NFL and we are confident he will use the same approach to become very successful in his future endeavors. We will always consider him a 49er and wish him all the best.”

This article has 561 Comments

    1. We still don’t know for certain Bowman is coming back… or to what level he can play. Two ILBs is more like it.

      There goes Baalke’s plan to stay flexible in the draft. He’s going to “reach” for MLB like a man with 20 ft arms.

    2. Expect Baalke to sign at least one ILB before the draft. He’ll need to try and temper the glaring need at the position. Don’t see much on the market to get excited about. Baalke likes his ILB’s in the 6’0″ 240ish range.(Willis 6’1″ 240/Borland 5’11” 247/Bowman 6’0″ 242/Wilhoite 6’0″ 240/Moody 6’1″236/Chase6’3″ 242) Mason Foster or Mark Herzlich could be depth players but neither are starters although Foster is still young. I could see Baalke signing Irving because of his propensity for acl tears.

      None of these guys are anything to get excited about but it’s seems more likely then not that at least one LB will be added in the next week or two.

    3. 49ers Dynasty:1980′–1990’…..Asst. Coaching Staff: Brian Billick, Jeff Fisher, Pete Carroll, John Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shannahan, Mark Trestman (2nd in scoring last year), etc., etc.,
      What do all of these coaches have in common?…Now that every team in the NFC West has improved in one way or another and we have to face them 6X, plus Green Bay, Vikes (improved with Major QB talent), Cinn, Detroit (playoffs)NYG,(Manning’s 2nd year ins WCO),Pittsburgh, plus the coaching and player turn over so far, and being generous that Tomsula is half the coach
      Harbaugh was, 8 wins last year divided by 2 equals 4 wins this year.

  1. Stunning. There goes my 11-5 regular season prediction.

    I hope his long term health is OK. What a bolt out of the blue.

    1. 11-5…seriously? Ok…considering the staff changes and player losses that’s extremely bold, extremely. Our draft priorities and FA priorities have changed dramatically the past week.

  2. In a way it’s not surprising. The guy plays kamikaze style and he doesn’t know any other way to play. He made the right decision for his life.

  3. Feel for the guy. A thumper who played football his whole life and only one year in the pros. He is justifiably scared for the long term. I hope he’s ok now. As for the team, definite need at MLB. Bowman only one on the team who should start, if he’s healthy. Team needs an FA, to be signed soon, I think, just please not Brandon Spikes. And, a draft pick. Stephone Anthony looking better all the time.

      1. And why is this. He posted a video the other day where he said that Willis was quitting on his team but he admired Jake Locker for retiring. Go watch it for yourself.

    1. Looked him up. Free agent that played for the Bucs. 6’2″, 241lbs and ran a 4.74 40 yard dash. Was drafted in the 3rd round and is currently 26 years old.

  4. Wow, and I hear Bowman may not even pass his physical. No matter what happens it cant be worse than the Dennis Ericson days. Grant, given this new information, who are your top ILB prospects? Stay faithful!

    1. Don’t worry the league will respond. They will make the playing field safer… for quarterbacks and wide receivers.

  5. Anyone get the feeling he was lookin to be a career back up and coast on minimum salary until he found out Willis was done. He did step up and play hard when his number was called. Coming into the new season he may have expected Willis to be back and he would be a security blanket. I don’t blame the guy for considering the quality of life he would live down the line. However, I can’t help but feel he waited until Willis was gone and the risk of playing football went up for him.

      1. Borland is a little guy playing in a field of giants, he has to go kamikaze to bring down his man and lets face it, he’s not big enough to do this for 10 years let alone 5. A good decision for this young man based on what he was going to be asked to do.

        1. If this is about Borland being a little guy running amongst giants, then count him as another AJ Jenkins; both are guys that didn’t fit Baalke’s mold of big, strong guys.

    1. Taco
      As a backup LB Borland would have to make a living playing all the ST to remain on the roster. That is a tough head banging existence to lead. The “safest” position is third string QB and kicker although kickers have been getting lit up and many teams dont carry 3rd Qb anymore

  6. That could end the BPA talk with first pick…..Borland sure didn’t play like he was concerned with head injuries. Dude was a stud….This sucks, I wish him well.

    1. There is no ILB worthy of pick #15, so doubt Baalke takes one in the first unless he can work out a trade down. I think our 2nd round pick will be somewhat telegraphed though… and may involve a trade up.

    2. There is no ILB near close enough to take @ 15. Baalke is a lot of things but he’s not stupid. Does it mean that we will likely trade up to grab top backer with 2nd pick, absolutely. Considering we may have 5 compensatory picks next year, moving up makes tons of sense.

  7. FWIW, Grant was right, the 49ers should have traded Borland. His trade value will certainly never get higher than it was a couple of weeks back! :-P

    1. Hindsight is 20-20 Scooter. One could also argue that Baalke should have made the trade for OBJ with what we know now.

        1. Yeah, I know, and I hope you didn’t think I was putting you down. It just seems like we move from crisis to crisis and I’m a guy who doesn’t like drama.

        2. Well there was that rumor that Baalke was trying to trade Willis back around the time the Niners were looking at Anthony. Even Baalke couldn’t have traded two guys who were going to retire, could he?

      1. There is no concrete figure for what teams were asking to move from 30 all the way up for OBJr. I heard it was the 2014 first+2014 2nd +2015 first.

        It wasn’t going to be anything like 2013 when it only took a 3rd rounder to movie up for Reid.

        1. Brodie:

          It’s not really worth discussing since it’s moot, but I took my information from what Baalke said when asked why he didn’t trade up. He specifically mentioned the first three picks.

          1. I wouldn’t believe what Baalke said. He had an agenda to justify not moving up so he is going to give a highest price scenario. I really don’t think it would have cost that much because the later picks were more valuable due to a depth of talent that draft. Not saying TB didn’t have justification for not trading up but I think he is making it sound more expensive to justify his decision.

            1. I think you are making wild guesses to suit your narrative. Moving up from #30 to #12 or higher would have cost a lot. Heck moving up from #26 to #22 cost the Browns a 3rd rounder.

              1. Yep. And last year there was some elite talent available at those early teen picks. The Vikings, Giants and Rams must have been giddy getting Barr, Beckham and Donald at #11, #12 and #13.

              2. Scooter Yes… I would have taken Aaron Donald over OBJr with the 12 pick.

                I have no concrete info on what it would have costs. I did hear shortly after the draft scenarios like two first rounders and a second.

                But a first+second+third is alot too. A huge price in what many think is one of the deepest drafts ever because of the 100+ underclassmen that declared.

                Some years its easy, like 2013 when they 49ers got the Cowbows 18 for a 31+3rd. Other years trade-ups cost a bundle.

                I have a feeling as long as Parker or Waynes are on the board, trade-up prices will be well above chart this year.

                The higher in round one, the less accurate the trade value charts are. There is too much fluctuation year to year.

                According to the Value Group people, there’s usually a big drop off in % of pro bowlers after pick 13.

              3. Scoote– Yes my post and perspective is pure speculation. But it is based on a pattern that Trent has shown already. Consider the recent moves in respect to the Harbaugh firing. He is naturally going to portray his actions in the best light possible. Re-read my post. I don”t fault his rational at all. It was not a boneheaded move, rather it made sense from his perspective. Only the after the fact spin on his justifications. It is in his nature to deflect any appearance of having made a mistake. His actions are all about enhancing his image in the best possible light which is why I think he would exaggerate the cost to make his decision MORE justifiable in retrospect. While I would have done differently it was not a bad decision at the time. In retrospect it would have been better to go in the other direction.

  8. QUITER u scared borlan now that willis retired you gotta play more ppl counting on you now you retire. Prob wanted to sit on the bench collect a pay check.

    1. Another idiotic comment by some weenie who couldn’t be a water boy on a Borland team. Plus you are a functional illiterate. Loser…

  9. This owner has ruined this team! How 100 percent believe that now… The guy hadn’t had a concussion since his sophomore year in high school.. We are F Ed!!!!

      1. Yes it’s absurd to blame either TB or Jed for unexpected retirements. The person that should be blamed is Kaep. I cant think of a reason at present but that has never stopped anyone from blaming him for about everything bad that happened last season.

  10. I wonder if Borland has that $450k laying around to pay back from his signing bonus?

    Also wonder if any other 49ers with multiple concussions will rethink their situation – Reid, Vernon Davis?

    1. jsrider- Actually Reid might be thinking that already. He certainly played less aggressive after his concussion.

      VD has been trying to avoid any hits for some time now. I think that is obvious by the way he plays. It would be better if he retired rather than giving less effort on the field. But then it would impact his Brand if he didn’t have a salary coming in.

  11. With the loss of both Willis and Borland and no immediate suitable replacement(s) in site, could this precipitate a move from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3?

    1. Excellent point. Right now, we are ill prepared to play 3-4. Another interesting thought, does this make a talent like Bud Dupree more or less interesting. Everything I’ve read states that teams feel he can play every lb position in 3-4. That would provide us a great deal of flexibility both long term and short term.

  12. Don’t let us down and pull a Alex Smith 180 after a player is off the roster. You have been trashing on Chris “Two down LB at best” Borland none stop. Let’s see an article on how this is a positive for the team.

  13. Example of a guy that wanted to sit on the bench and collect a pay check willis retired now your the starter oooo wait imma retire ppl counting on you now quit nice dude.

  14. So who else on Niners was concussed last year? Who’s next??? Maybe Billy Bob Baalke and Yuppie York can convert that Australian rugby player into a linebacker :-) ….We’re running out of bodies.

  15. I don’t mind the retirement of either guy so much as the timing. Both guys had to have an idea this was coming before free agency. We had skuta on the roster who could have played mlb.

    1. “I don’t mind the retirement of either guy so much as the timing. Both guys had to have an idea this was coming before free agency. We had skuta on the roster who could have played mlb.”

      Great Post! That is the crux of the situation. Willis and Borland didn’t just wake up on March 9th and March 16th respectively, and decide they wanted to retire. They both HAD to have mulled over these decisions, agonized over them, for weeks! All the while the 49ers worked and planned through free agency with the knowledge and assurance that they were strong at ILB and could concentrate on other areas of need. Had they both spoken up sooner, it would still suck for us fans but at least Baalke wouldn’t have been sucker punched with these brutal body blows to our defense. Holy crap but the bad news just keeps coming. It’s unreal how drastically things have changed for the 49ers since the NFCCG in Seattle.

      1. My thinking as well. They could have at least given the team a heads up as to the possibility. More so Borland than Willis because they didn’t expect him to play that much longer anyway. Where as Borland was part of the Niners long term plans. Well at least they didn’t wait till after the draft. Some players actually do that.

  16. I see I’m not alone in the thought he may have been looking to collect a paycheck as a career back up. I know another poster stated Borland had concerns going back to last year. It’s plausible he truely is retiring for quality of life down the road. Another thought I just had is maybe he is scared he will be exposed this year as a starting MLB with bowmans health a question mark and the extreme turnover on the defensive side. Hell last year he put out some good tape but was also caught out of position for some big gains. Maybe he prefers to take the money and retire as a one year player who many thought would have a long productive career due to health.

    1. Taco- Not saying that this was his reasoning and intent, but he is very marketable right now. He had an amazing rookie season and this move makes him even higher profile. It might actually be in his better interests financially to retire while he was on top exposure wise. Now he is a hero to a lot of the anti-sports faction as well as the majority of those that are sports fans as well. Very marketable right now.

  17. I respect Borland’s decision but I would bash my head around for a few years for millions of dollars… Then I walk away with swollen pockets $$$…..Medical technology keeps improving so I would take the risk for millions. Playing for the 49ers and the love of the game….For millions???

    1. Have you ever talked to someone with brain damage???
      A million $$$$$$$$ goes fast when you’re in the hospital!

  18. I have no problem with Borland’s decision, but I was surprised when I read that he’s only suffered two concussions, and none since 10th grade. I had four concussions from football just from grade 7 to 11, and another while playing in college. And if I were lucky enough to be in his position, there’s no way in hell I would walk away from the game.

  19. Wow. This really sucks. Borland at least some what replaced Willis on the field. But now this is just a disaster. What if bowman has a set back? It just sucks. Some people love the game enough to risk it and others don’t. Now we gotta find a MLB

  20. Borland is a coward…everbody will expirience fear, it is how you react to fear that defines you. If he was this serious about the effects of concussions, then he never should have CHOOSEN the draft and his carrier. This boy is letting down his team! PW gets obvious respect, but
    Borland is a joke!

  21. Grant just said on 95.7 Niners might only win 6 games now. A complete overreaction. Baalke is no moron, he’ll find replacements…….The sky is not falling people….War of the worlds was not a real event people.

      1. Not true. We gave away at least 3 games last year playing wiling rookies and 2nd year guys on defense. Everyone should be markedly better. Do we have a problem in middle, only if Bowman can’t come back and play at high level. Real possibility. If he does though, he makes Wilhoite better and Wilhoite has added year of active experience.

    1. I can’t get that crummy station in San Jose. 6 games this season . I have no clue, it could be 4 or maybe 8 , who knows.

  22. If you told me two weeks ago that the 49ers have a need at inside linebacker, I would have called you an idiot. Things change so fast… I guess this is why you always go BPA in the draft.

  23. The Vegas over/under for Niners in 8.5 wins. I hope it drops to 7.5 or 8.
    That’s when I will be on the 15 fwy north headed to sin city baby! I can’t wait to get paid. $$$$
    Who’s in? Beers on me. :)

  24. Not convinced that Baalke was blindsided by Borland’ decision. He may have been in talks with Borland over the last few weeks hence the re-upping of Brooks who up until a week ago was a slam-dunk release.

    1. Kind of agreed. I think Baalke may have asked him to hold off on the decision for PR purposes. However, that may not explain why we have not signed a replacement for backup. Unless, they feel good about Bowman’s health and Moody’s ability.

      Maybe the play is to sign R. McLean and draft a larger cover CB / S that can take the place of pip squeak first rounder last year to cover the TEs. Maybe we can trade back in round one for this guys JALEN COLLINS and pick up another mid rounder…

  25. It’s a mass exodus. They don’t want to play for the 49ers anymore with all the stupid front office/coaching moves. They’re either getting traded or they’re ‘retiring’ to come back after they can find a new team.

        1. Daniners- No you were right to the first time by telling him to troll elaewhere. Eleawhere is a fairy land where trolls dwell in harmony.

    1. That thought did enter my mind and in Borland’ case it certainly makes more sense than a couple of people who said said he’s leaving because he is a coward.

      A player his size that has at times hurdled his body in the air to make a tackle is far from being a coward.
      A player like Borland only knows how to play the game at one speed – total full metal. He came to the realization that it’s a recipe for long term physical disability. That’s not being a coward, that’s being smart.

  26. Good night. I turned on my phone to see if there were any responses to my posts and what do I see? Another ILB from the 49ers announcing his retirement. I have been saying every since Willis retired that ILB was the top priority in the upcoming draft, but now it has become an urgency.

  27. I’m looking at what is available at ILB in the free agent market, and I have to say it’s not pretty at all. McClain is the best option, but he’s most likely out for at four games and is probably better suited for the Cowboys defense. The next two options, Spikes and Irving, are two down run defenders that I wouldn’t touch. We’re either going to have to trade for an ILB or hopefully draft a good one. The other option is switching to a 4-3…which I think could be possible now. :-p

    1. Yeah, I mentioned earlier above that we might have two switch to a 4-3. I think what makes this all so disconcerting is that we don’t have the old coaches on defense. If Fangio was still around I would have more faith than I do now, but with Mangini, only god knows. A couple of days ago I floated the idea of moving Brooks to ILB but mostly to counter Graham. What do you think of that idea?

      1. I’m not a fan of it. He seems to be better suited playing OLB than ILB. I know he played the position once and utilized there against the Panthers in the playoffs, but I can’t see him being there for 16 games.

      2. No. Brooks to ILB is a bad idea. People keep suggesting it ever since he played a couple of goal line snaps at ILB a couple years back. Big difference between playing ILB on the goal line and being tasked with playing ILB on a regular basis. He doesn’t have the mobility, range or instincts to play ILB regularly.

        Switching to a 4-3 isn’t an easy fix either, though if they were to do so they could move to a 4-3 under as that is basically what they play most of the time anyway (sorry, not wanting to get into this again, but it is true). If they did, then Lynch would need to be replaced in the base D with a more athletic SAM backer (think Bruce Irvin), with Aldon playing the Leo DE/OLB spot on the weakside. Bowman would be best as the WILL, so either Wilhoite plays MIKE or they still need to draft someone.

        If you wanted to go a more traditional 4-3, then the 49ers have too many DL and some of those guys should be traded away. Dial basically becomes superfluous. And an issue would be whether Lynch can hold up as a strongside DE in a standard 4-3. I’m not sure he can, he’s more a finesse player. So the team would need to draft both a MIKE (or go with Wilhoite) and a strongside DE.

        Basically the easiest solution is to keep with the 3-4 they play and find a replacement at ILB.

        1. Brooks was ILB in college and pros until Niners converted him to OLB. Not saying he can play it well enough at this level but that’s what he was drafted to play in first place.

          1. True, he did play some MLB in college. He even played some MLB for the Bengals (though not very well). But he’s best suited to play OLB in the NFL, not ILB.

    2. MWD – You’re probably right, a trade is needed. Everyone GM knows our dilemma at LB now so it will be difficult to get a fair deal.

        1. Crab 15 ….Something to keep minds working….start going over the other teams practice squads for ILB’s . Borland was a tackling machine, but there are others just maybe not as good or well-schooled as him……It’s “any port in a storm” time now….

      1. Very true. It wouldn’t shock me right now if it cost us Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, or some other player plus a draft pick or two.

    1. Yes I am worried about that but that is where the Ward pick last year represents more value than people give Balke credit for.

  28. I like what I see from Eric Kendricks. Not a blitzer, but he appears to be a thumper against the run and an assest in coverage. He needs more meat on his bones, but I think he could carry the extra weight without a problem.

    1. I don’t think it’s as much on Tomsula but this piece of trash owner we have.. A little cowherd that had a lot of this bad breaks coming his way.. Until this family sells this team we will be falling apart… A 30 year old Willis who lived for football suddenly retires after getting surgery on his toe. Then a 24 year old LB who calls it quit out of no where. This owner has created this sh*t show!

  29. I’m sorry but I disagree…I’m a powerline man for a local utility. ..I’ve lost 3 friends at work and almost been killed once myself..I’m not looking for sympathy but I have a g.e.d and live very comfortable for the risks I take.I’m not the only one who has a dangerous job but I have no sympathy for these overpaid whiners..Do you go to work everyday and not k ow if you will make it home?Are you ever at work and wonder if what you do next might kill you or leave you permanently disfigured?Cause I do..I also ride a motorcycle everyday to work..I literally am almost hit at least 5 times a week!But you know what?I accept that I have a dangerous job and live a comfortable life for it..I accept that riding a bike to work is very dangerous but saves me 30 min a day..I’m starting to realize the NFL is a bunch of over paid spoiled punks and Mark Cubans prediction is coming clearer every day..No one kidnapped these spoiled brats and forced them to play football,he is a selfish coward that just wasted somebody else draft spot…Man Up!

    1. Difference is, he doesn’t have just one choice in order to make money. He doesn’t need to take risks. He has a college degree and name recognition. He’ll do fine. You take risks because you want to make a good living and provide for your family. Which is admirable, but because you don’t have a degree your options are more limited. You are forced to take on greater risk. You shouldn’t fault someone for putting themselves in a position to have multiple options.

    2. The lineman for the power companies have one of the highest risk jobs there is and they don’t even get the compensation that NFL football players get. Daniners- You following statement is an insult to every person who has a high risk job. You are basically insulting their intelligence and capabilities. Even if that were true someone has to do those jobs. Bring power into our lives is much more valuable that a couple of hours of entertanment a week. Besides a college degree value is so inflated today that it doesn’t mean much. Graduates use their degree’s for place settings when they take their lunch breaks in the fast food establishments where they work.

      1. Daniners- While the lack of name recognition aspect of your post makes some sense, sometimes people do a job because it has value and not just for money. We put entirely to much importance on sports. They get payed big bucks. Lets at least give those in high risk jobs more respect to compensate for the lack of salary. Remember the Pro- player who quit to join the military and died in the line of duty. He had options. Hell without Power there couldn’t be football. Lets keep our prioritys straight.

  30. A trade candidate could be the Eagles. McKinney will visit the team and they also brought Alonso into the fold with the trading of McCoy. Ryans is 30 and coming back from an injury while Kendricks is due for a big pay day after this upcoming season.

  31. I absolutely respect Chris Borland’s decision – it is after all his life.

    What I’m a little confused about, however, is why he didn’t notify the FO earlier. I believe he notified them last Friday. He’s been thinking about this for almost a year. If he had let the FO know earlier, perhaps we could have picked up a FA ILB. Having said that, I don’t know how good the ILBs in free agency were this year. I’m just assuming that there were better ILBs that we could have tried to get. But either way, Chris must have been aware that letting Baalke know earlier rather than later would have given Baalke more time to find a good ILB in FA. Maybe the decision was extremely hard for Chris and it took this long. But he had been posting related issues on his Twitter account according to Jason LaConfora at least since early February. Maybe I’m missing something or just not seeing something.

    1. cubus,

      “Maybe the decision was extremely hard for Chris and it took this long.”

      You think?

      “But he had been posting related issues on his Twitter account according to Jason LaConfora at least since early February. Maybe I’m missing something or just not seeing something.”

      Is taking four or five weeks to figure out a major life changing decision too long or too short?

      Why don’t you ask why Baalke didn’t ask him about his concerns when Borland posted “related issues” on Tweeter?

      The people criticizing Borland and even Willis are …

      Never mind, it’s pointless.

      1. htwaits:

        I didn’t feel like I was criticizing Borland’s decision and I thought I made that clear with my first sentence. It’s just the timing of the announcement that I’m questioning. It wasn’t just 4 or 5 weeks but almost a year (he mentioned it started in last year’s training camp). From the article above:

        “Before the fourth game of the preseason, at Houston, he wrote a letter to his parents informing them that he thought his career in the NFL would be brief because of his concerns about the potential long-term effects of head injuries.”

        Since I have some employees that work for me, when they plan to leave I often have to negotiate how long they will stay in order to finish up tasks and pave the way for a smooth transition to the new employee. I suppose those experiences shape the way I view this matter.

        I do wish Borland the best. But it’s done with and the team needs to move on.

        1. cubus:

          Your comments are not the ones that made me angry. That’s why I was able to reply to you. What I said about discussion being pointless was directed to another class of comments.

          Your personal experience as an employer may not translate very well to the NFL or to much of corporate America. I’m assuming that in your case, you offer employees the same consideration when you find it necessary to let them go for business reasons. NFL teams rarely offer any consideration for the individual before they are inserted back into the “market”. As Jim Harbaugh said, “I work at the pleasure of ownership.” Or something close to that.

          As for the future, I was pessimistic in December, but now it’s a whole new ball game.

      2. htwaits,

        I’d like to say I’m surprised to read some of the comments criticizing Borland, but I’m not. Cubus I’m not referring to your comment, more the ones above.

        Ultimately the only one who can make this decision is Borland. If he feels he needs to retire then he’s making the right decision for him.

        1. Cubis- Rocket- htwaits—-The problem with this site is that it does not allow “reply with quotes” so people are often confused as to which post applies to whom. Which is why I usually put the name of the poster I am replying to in front of my post.

    2. PFT has a piece saying Borland told his family before last season that he might only play one season. Now when scouts and coaches interview prospects one of the things they hope to come away with is how much a guy loves the game; can he, will he dedicate his life to football. I’m curious about if they didn’t dig deep enough in the interviews or if Chris wasn’t candid about his on going concerns. Not looking to point fingers, just wondering.

      1. When was the last time you were asked to dedicate your life to your employer not your country?

        Did you see any signs that Borland was giving any less than 100% to his employer during his first year in the NFL? Did he give any less to his university?

  32. Scooter: You mentioned Mason Foster earlier. Here’s an update from Rotoworld:

    “ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright reports the Bears and free agent ILB Mason Foster are “not close” to a deal. On Thursday, it was reported the two sides were hammering out a three-year contract. It appears negotiations hit a snag, though they remain in contact. Foster would be a good get as the Bears transition to the 3-4.”

    1. Time for Baalke to swoop in! Doubt he will though. If he hit a snag in contract negotiations with the Bears, chances are he’s after more money than the 49ers would be willing to spend.

      1. Scooter, I think frugality has to go out the window at this point. These are desperate times. Baalke has to go all out to shore up ILB because as nearly everyone has already siad, Bowman’s situation is still a big unknown, and that leaves pretty much Wilhoite alone at ILB.

        1. I have to agree. Not sure how much cap space is left but I think it is around 8 to 10 million. They will need to have about 4 to 5 million left to sign the rookie class. This may mean that we won’t be able sign DB Sterling Moore.

        2. That’s why I suggested the Eagles as a trade partner. They currently have a logjam at the position, with Ryans costing too much and Kendricks due a big pay day after this season. I’d rather get Kendricks but Ryans wouldn’t be a bad short-term option.

    2. There is still a lot of time to deal with it. No need to panic and sign somebody they don’t feel good about. Whether it’s the draft, trade or somebody who is released later on, there will be an opportunity to address it.

  33. One thing niner fans have to consider and be ok with is that we are now rebuilding. Not completely, but in specific areas. The good news, if we don’t panic and draft BPA , we might sneak into the playoffs. Tough, but next year with 5 compensatory picks, we are right back in the thick of it. Ready to compete for SBs. Seattle? They are already looking at the back end. Giving up picks for aging veterans…there’s a price to pay for winning now.

    1. Whooooeeeee. Expectations are dropping faster than the water levels in California reservoirs. Maybe at some point the FO has to embrace the momentum of change rather than resisting it; (Watercourse Way). I don’t think they had any intention of ‘rebuilding’ this year, but there’s a tipping point somewhere on adjusting to the uncontrollable factors. So keep our draft choices, play some young guys if we have to this year and keep building up the roster for the long term. Maybe drafting back will look a tad more attractive to TB now.

      1. Yeah, I think we have to adjust r expectations for this season and look at this as a two year building process. I don’t think we have a choice. I think healthy, 8-8 is realistic.

        1. It’s a goal. : -)
          By the way, Happy Saint Paddy’s Day to all. Corned Beef sandwich and a Boont Amber for my lunch. Cheers! But be safe.

    1. Again, totally untrue, frustration on your part. Not resigning old players is smart. Willis and Borland is just terrible luck and coincidence.

  34. So now that Borland has gone and thrown a spanner in the works, here is my revised mock draft.

    Round 1. Cameron Erving, OC/OG, Florida State. Versatile OL with extensive experience at LT, but switched to OC halfway through the past season as Florida State’s interior was giving up too much pressure. Played well, and is now considered the top OC prospect in the draft. Good feet to mirror, very quick off the snap, and good football IQ. Could step into a starting role at LG from Day 1.

    Round 2. Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson. Great athlete for the position, that can hold up against the run and pass. Like Bowman, has the size and athleticism to play either of the ILB spots.

    Round 3. Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary. Not exceptional in any one area, but a good all round WR with decent size and speed, good hands, nice route running skills, and high football IQ. Could be the #3 or #4 this year, and slide into a starting role in 2016.

    Round 4. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn. Physical runner with good vision, balance and movement skills.

    Round 5. JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas. Former WR that does a good job of reading the WRs eyes and making plays on the ball. Had 32 passes defensed and 5 INTs the past two seasons. Doesn’t look like he has great speed, but does have good acceleration and fluidity to stick with the receiver.

    Round 6. Martin Ifedi, DT/DE, Memphis. Lined up all over the DL for Memphis, but would be a DE for the 49ers that could play 3-tech or 5-tech. Doesn’t have great height, but has decent arm length. Physical, active player with good speed and high motor. Had 22.5 career sacks at Memphis, and looked good at the East-West Shrine Game at both DT and DE.

    Round 7. Obum Gwacham, OLB/DE, Oregon State. Great physical traits but only one year of experience as a pass rusher – played WR until 2014. Will take time and patience, but has the physical traits you look for and is reportedly a very hard worker and high character guy.

    Round 7 (comp). Chris Bonner, QB, Colarado State-Pueblo. Big time project with great height, strong arm, and nice pocket instincts.

      1. Looked a second time Scooter -really good mock draft. Cameron Irving is a guy I have been toying with in a recent fan mock as well.Do you think he is available in a trade down in the first? Think it possible maybe add a 2nd or 3rd?

        1. Thanks, and yes I do hightop.

          To be honest, I think a trade down now may be what Baalke seeks. Move down to the late 20s, look to pick up an extra 3rd (or 2nd if they can squeeze it, but a 3rd will do).

          If they do so, I doubt Erving will be the pick. In the late 20s they would likely take an ILB like Anthony or Kendricks. If they want an OL they can then grab him in the 2nd round, maybe even trade up to the early 2nd round and get someone like Ty Sambrailo.

    1. Scooter-here is the mock I mentioned with trade down to lower first as a factor:(1)Cameron Irving OL -plug and play;(2)with trade and a possible 2016 3rd we get an extra second and Seattle Seahawks let us introduce you to Eddie Goldman DT: (2b) yes three Seminoles in a row Ronald Darby stud CB;(3) Goodbye Mr Borland hello Mr Denzel Perriman ILB;(4) Ty Montgomery underrated WR ;(comp 4)Henry Anderson DE;(5)Imoan Claiborne super sleeper CB;(6) Conner Halliday QB;(7)Zack Zenner sleeper power RB/FB;(7 comp) Mario Alford darkhorse mini speed demon WR.

      1. Nice one hightop, lots of really good players in there. I’d be happy with that draft!

        I’d only question whether the some of the players would last that long. Goldman is typically talked about as being a first round guy, and as discussed previously Darby is getting a bit of hype as a potential late first/ early second guy now. If those guys were gone, would that change your approach in terms of positions? As I said in an earlier post, I think right now if they traded down they would probably take an ILB first to make sure they got the one they want.

        I like Perryman so would be happy to grab him in the third. In fact there is really only 3 ILBs that I rate this year – Anthony, Kendricks and Perryman.

        There is only one player on that list I would be a bit disappointed if the 49ers drafted him. I’m not a fan of Montgomery. Actually, I really don’t like him as a prospect. That is largely based on when he was still considered a possible 1st rounder, though I see most sites have now downgraded him to around the 4th. I guess what I saw is something most people are starting to see with him – he’s just not very good. To me he’s a guy you need to manufacture ways to get him the ball, because he’s not good at getting himself open. And you can pretty much forget the deep ball – he’s all at sea down the field.

        1. Jeez- vapor lock in the cerebral cortex Scooter confusing Montgomery with Lockett but he most likely would be gone by the third.

        2. Admittedly a fantasy driven draft-but not far from do-able-Cameron is realistic at that slot ,still don’t think Darby goes higher than 2nd -Goldman there well …wishfull. Perryman I think would be there. Everyone progressively but the error pick in which I transposed Montgomery for Lockett is conceivable.But Lockett would be great at that slot.

  35. Well he’s suffered two concussions as its known so far. One was in the 8th grade from soccer. And one in TC last season. So it doesn’t sound like his health is in jeopardy. It sounds like he turned hypochondriac and is afraid to play football. We lost depth. Wasn’t a fan of him anyways. Good luck with your future and perfect timing now that free agency is basically over for letting them know you won’t be participating. Smh

    1. Ninermd- I don’t believe his second concussion was in training camp. It was just a hard hit in camp, not a concussion that made him consider his present action. The second concussion was actually in high school.

  36. Jarryd Hayne might be learning how to play defense after this development. I don’t think the team is overly concerned.
    We might not have the best Ilb in the league any longer but an ILB is not a recipe for a super bowl. We have had the best ILB’s in football 8 years in a row and it hasn’t won the organization a single ring.
    I don’t think the organization is as worried as many fans are. I still like trading Kaepernick away. He isn’t worth 12 million this year. Let him tear his Achilles playing bb in Cleveland.
    Chip Kelly’s doing some maneuvering that could make a Kaepernick trade a reality in a week or two. I think the organization is waiting for the right price.

    1. The problem with your observation is that our secondary is not that great. They benefitted from the front 7. Now majority of our defensive starters are gone. Many backups are gone as well.

      Trade Kaep and replace him with who?

  37. I can’t help but think there is more to his retirement. It’s a terrible way to start the morning. I feel Borland saw how the vets were treated and saw it wasn’t worth it. He saw how Gore have his heart and soul to the niners only to not get that back in the end. I just find it hard to believe he woke up and thought I’m retiring because I’m afraid on concussions that I rarely ever have.

    1. Anything’s possible..but I doubt it.he chose to quit..that’s his choice..He’s a professional..With millions on the table..u get along with anyone.lol..Least see what your role.new scheme and coaching staff is like first…So he quit..
      he was knocked for his stature and size..wasnt supposed to see the field anyway.. so the pick ultimately was wasted..im a lil upset at that..but oh well..

    2. KY,

      He made the decision over a long period of time. There was no waking up one morning and calling it quits. He researched it, talked to his family and professionals, and knew how beat up he felt after the season. This was well thought out and he made the best decision for himself. Nothing to do with the team or other players.

    3. KY49ER,

      If you’ve had any personal exposure to those with any form of dementia, or if you are aware of the long term damage done by repeated blows to the head short of obvious concussion, you might better understand what Borland has just done.

  38. I’m going to predict a spike in the pay to players at positions succeptible to concussions. They will not get better healthcare plans for retired vets, they will just pay more for them to play.

      1. Not QB’s and WR’s. OL, DL, LB, RB, and maybe Safeties. QB’s and WR’s are protected. The other guys just bang heads all day.

        1. It doesn’t really matter if they’re protected or not. They are some players that can get a concussion just from being hit without any contact to the head. It happens when a sudden and violent hit causes the head and neck to swing violently in a certain direction and come back just as quick. It’s more or less a concussion caused by whiplash.

          1. True but if a QB is whiplashed that typically results in a flag. As niners fans we know this first hand. Even pushing a QB can result with in a flag. Concussions can happen by the smallest of things. I have had them but in order to keep the people who do the most banging of heads they are going to have to change the pay scale. Yes you will have some people play regardless. There will be a group of people who will play through their first contract, the beginning of their second, and then peace out.

            1. My point is though that just because they are protected by the rules doesn’t mean a player or players in a certain aren’t just as susceptible to a concussion as a player in another position not protected by the rules.

              1. I’m speaking from a standpoint of keeping players from retiring so soon. The compensation for the position that are more susceptible will eventually have their pay increased due to having a higher risk of post career head trauma.

              2. I think you’re still missing my point KY49ER. I’m saying that the is no certain position that is more susceptible than the other. Take WR and FS for instance. The FS could be coming at the WR at full throttle and hit the WR with his shoulder, but that doesn’t mean that WR is more likely to sustain a concussion because there have been a few instances where the WR has come away from the hit unscathed while the hard-hitting FS is the one who gets his bell rung despite being the enforcer.

          1. Steve Young played in a different era. So no. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Bree’s can get flags thrown for barely touching them. They are protected. Young was not.

  39. Football is a dangerous sport. It’s dangerous at every position, which is one reason players are lauded for their efforts and paid a great sum. If he wants to hang em up, that’s his right. But it doesn’t change the fact that he hurt the team in the process. All of the facts were readily available when he entered the draft and opted to cash the 49ers checks.

    This guy is Glenn Coffee 2.0, nothing more. May he be forgotten as soon as possible.

    1. Borland has cashed no checks that he didn’t earn in spades. His bonus calls for a 75% refund as well. Was Frank Gore loyal to the team when their need didn’t match Frank’s. It’s routine for teams to offer to cut players if they won’t take a cut in their existing contracts. How loyal is that?

      1. He cashed a check in the form of a 3rd round pick and quit one year later. Comparing him to Gore is laughable. Gore was a loyal member of the team thru thick and thin.

        I didn’t and won’t call Borland a coward. The fact is he quit the team 1 year after being drafted with no injuries to speak of, having well understood what it meant to play LB when he signed his rookie contract. He got in, got paid, and got out.

        It’s his choice, but it doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences to his teammates. It was worth it for him to play until he made some dough, then the equation changed. As I’ve said, it doesn’t make him a coward, but it does make him disingenuous in signing his rookie contract. Glenn Coffee

        1. You should take into account that his doubts started in training camp when he hid the fact that he probably had a concussion. Also, the only money that he will take away from the 49ers will be his 2014 pay and the prorated portion of his bonus. His play was all out on every play he was involved in, including 128 tackles.

          You might also take into account the vast numbers of contracts that NFL teams terminate when it’s in their best interest to do so. Team loyalty plays a role on the field, but it’s of little concern to the teams when they work on the business end of the game.

        1. In what universe is it inappropriate to quit your job? Who among us would want to live under that kind of restriction? The military commitment is the only exception that comes to mind, and that’s made very clear when signing up. The Techies might have to sign non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, but they can quit.

  40. Guy let the team know BEFORE the draft he was done. I think that was more than fair. It’s his life he doesn’t owe anyone here jack. I hope he settles in some small town, puts his mementos on the mantle and gets a good job. Marries a nice girl, raise some kids, have a good life. He earned it…

    1. Or maybe he will open a hamburger stand, turn it into a billion dollar enterprise and wind up owning a NFL franchise because he was refused a $250 dollar raise.

      “Carolina Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson, who became just the second former player to own an NFL team along with George Halas of the Chicago Bears.”

  41. Hadn’t heard about this until just now; what a fine kettle of fish to wake up to. And nobody likes fish for breakfast, LOL!
    OK, this sucks Big Time.
    The over-reaction by some commenters here is predictable but still uncalled for. Coward? Please.
    Going to cruise ‘safely’ as a backup? Yeah, nothing risky covering or returning punts & kick offs.
    As to brain injuries, please don’t ever underestimate the debilitating effects. I had a couple of concussions in HS ball and in the service boxing and a helo crash, but no lasting effects from them. A few years ago I caught viral encephalitis from a bug bite. I had a couple of days of growing confusion but I had no clue what was up. The third day it was hallucinations and grand mal seizures.
    When I came home from the hospital I wasn’t me anymore. I remembered ‘me’, but I felt like I was operating on the level of a person with Down Syndrome. I discovered that the basis of my identity was how I think. You don’t ever want to be in that place. No amount of money or love of the game would be worth being stuck in that place.
    A year and a half later I still couldn’t sleep in more than 20:00 stretches which leads to a sleep loss that builds up its own negative effects. I found acupuncture on my own (hmo wouldn’t cover it) and that brought around recovery in the following 6 months. Like the heart and liver, the brain is a marvelous organ with some self-healing properties; protect it or you won’t like the consequences.
    If I’d had the physical tools to play pro FB I would have been unlikely to pass on it as a young man, but experience tells me I might’ve been wrong. I listen to Tony Dorsett soberly. I remember Junior Seau and Mike Webster. I remember being diminished and thinking I wouldn’t get it back. I was trapped inside my own head.
    Please respect Chris Borland. And if you do, you’ll know that his decision had not one thing to do with Jed York or not wanting to play for Jim Tomsula. Really guys, that’s selfish thinking.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Brotha. We definitely should respect Borlands’ wishes and any other player who chooses a life free of health complications over money.

    2. Bro T – Damn bro, thanks for sharing that…I take back what I said about Borland making millions first, then he should quit. I respect him even more now……Football is the greatest sport on earth but a healthy long-life is more important.

    3. This here is why I always stop to read your posts Brotha! much respect to you, and much respect to Chris Borland.

      Keep the faith people!

    4. Yes, and yes again. I’ve been a caregiver for someone who had no chance to recover who they were. In your last paragraph you pointed out how self centered some of the comments have been, and I’m no York family fan.

      1. Thanks h.t., and to all. In re-reading I see that while I may have implied it I never noted that my recovery was by luck and the Creator’s grace. So many, as h.t. notes, have no chance at recovery, and the football players would likely be among that group.

        1. What’s so tough for family members is that beyond keeping the person with progressive dementia safe, every other effort will fail as time goes by.

          Best wishes.

    5. Excellent post Brotha.

      Borland made a hard decision – giving up a sport he enjoys (and you just had to see the way he played to see he enjoyed it) and that would have paid him a lot of money based on what we saw his first season can not have been an easy decision to come by. But he’s put his own health first.

      For the 49ers (and fans) it is obviously frustrating. Especially when you consider a 3rd rounder was invested in him. But really its the same result as if he had had a career ending injury. There are these potential risks with any draft pick. It sucks, but it happens.

    1. I’d pass on McClain. The light didn’t come on for him until he was in the Cowboys defense, and I think that is where he should stay.

      1. The problem with McClain is he has to really want to play for the team and the coach to be worth signing. His preference is to play somewhere close to home (which San Francisco is not), and he’s already had a bad experience playing for a team in California.

        If he is fully motivated he can be a good ILB, though more a 2-down thumper. I just don’t think the 49ers are the right environment for him.

  42. Borland retirement is a big loss, no doubt about it, especially in light of losing Patrick Willis. However, let’s not exaggerate the magnitude of this loss. I doubt his leaving will impact the won loss record for the team one way or the other. After Borland was lost for the season in Seattle it is not as if the SF defense collapsed in his absence. Nick Moody and Mike Wilhoite will do ok and hopefully NaVorro Bowman will be back and play well. Baalke can add someone decent through the draft somewhere between the 2nd and 4th rounds. Borland was a good 2 down MLB with some real limitations. Too bad he’s leaving, and I wish the guy well for his decision and in his future life, but the sky is not falling. The 49ers will survive.

  43. give mcclain a small incentive based deal:
    Though McClain’s sample size is smaller, it’s instructive. Just keep that 222 in mind when you learn that Pro Football Focus (login required) gave him a 9.0 overall grade for inside linebackers, third-best out of all, and the top pass coverage rating at 5.9.

  44. Stevie Johnson has been signed by the chargers. From Ian Rapoport:

    “The #Chargers will pay WR Stevie Johnson $10.5M over three years, source said. He can get to $12M. He’ll be a big part of their offense.”

    If the 49ers were offering anything it was probably just a one year deal.

    1. Congratulations to Stevie. On a per snap basis, one of the more productive players the 49ers had last year.

  45. If Bowman can’t come back from the knee injury, this team is in big trouble. Losing their top 3 iLB”s in one offseason would be devastating.

    This has just become the top need in the draft.

          1. Oh well. I have no problem with his decision. It’s his body and his life.

            I just think that he signed a contract and received money for a certain number of years, and he failed to meet those terms.

            1. That’s up to the team, but as a fan I really couldn’t care less if he gives the money back. It’s not like the team needs it, and it has little effect on the salary cap so why should fans care if he is allowed to keep the money or not?

              1. If the team wants it back then that’s fine George. My question is why does anyone on here care? Is it to satisfy the need of some to get their pound of flesh from Borland?

              2. No, rocket, I’m ok with Borland’s decision. It’s just fair to give some of the signing bonus back, whether the team needs it or not, IMO.

              3. The team also can not afford to set a precedent about players not fulfilling contracts. It could set off a chain reaction.

            2. Jack if a player signs a 3 year contract with a team and the team cuts him after one year do you believe that the team failed to meet those terms and owes the player money for the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract?

              1. OC:

                Do you know what happens to a player’s signing bonus in your example? Do they try to get part of it back in that scenario? Just asking out of curiousity and not because I want to use the answer to defend either Borland or the team.

              2. Cubus I’m not sure but I believe that if a team cuts a player before the end of his contract they are on the line for the full signing bonus. Bsaeball and basketball offer guaranteed contracts football does’nt, the only way football can get away with non guaranteed contracts is to give out sizable signing bonuses

              3. Coach,

                Apples and oranges. It’s a signing bonus so the player would already have the money.

            3. You want the guy who played way above his grade last year to give his $$ back to the Yorks? The Yorks? That’s who I am.

    1. Any money he’s over paid Should be returned. Too bad we can’t get the draft pick back. I wish there was a way to have a compensation pick for circumstances like this.

    2. The 49ers have every right to ask for 75% of his signing bonus back, but show no interest in doing so according to ESPN, and I applaud them for it!

      1. That is class, unlike their reaction when a player’s agent failed to inform the player how much it would cost him to miss voluntary camps.

    3. I think his production on the field last year was easily worth what he’s earned on his contract. Signing bonus included. The 49ers got a bargain with Borland.

      1. If they had signed a veteran on a one year “prove it” contract for the same money, it would have been called a great move given Borland’s performance.

  46. Well, this news certainly came as a shock. Watching Borland was one of the best things about last season.

    You don’t simply replace someone like Patrick Willis, but having Borland took some of the sting out of his retirement. Inside Linebacker has just gone from “embarrassment of riches” status to “serious need” in very short order.

    Given his smaller size, I never figured Borland would have a long career. But I was looking forward to seeing him for at least a few more years. His intensity and instincts made him an exciting guy to watch. I didn’t expect that he’d ever play on quite the Hall of Fame candidate level that Willis did (and that I hope Bowman can return to), but I did expect some good times in the future. I respect that man for his choice, but the fan in me is sad to lose him so soon.

    I’ll just have to go with Trent Baalke and say “We will always consider him a 49er and wish him all the best.”

    1. KYNiner, thanks for your post. IMO it’s common sense that Baalke would not have drafted him so high under those circumstances and maybe not at all. I know how I feel about it if he never told them: It was unconsciencable.

        1. George-
          I’d asked that question too earlier. I think I got my answer in the interview just now. Borland was not planning one& done at the Combine or when he was drafted or when he signed his contract. He said one particular hit in TC set the questions rolling in his mind. The more research he did, the more doubt and concern he developed. But he didn’t play with any hesitation or anything less than 100% effort and commitment; we all admired his play. Through all of that he had these doubts and worries. He knows what’s needed to play his position, knows it’s unavoidable and made a risk/reward decision going forward. But I gather his questions and concerns initiated in
          August, not before, and then he played out his rookie contract before he finalized his decision. That’s my current take, but I’m sitting at my kitchen island, ya know?

          1. Thanks, BT. It’s good to know all this. Btw, I’d like to make it clear here that I was saying how I’d feel if he never told them. And that remark I made about being pissed at the dog, that was unconscionable!

            1. No on the dog. They’re our best friends because they can’t call bs on us when we blame them for the fart rolling across the room. In fact I have a notorious Texas Chili recipe I’ve named Bad Dog Chili; when you fart you turn and say “Bad Dog!”. The dog wags his tail and you shrug and say “See?”

            2. George- I know Borlands dog. He is a friend of mine and he tells me there are no hard feelings. But he challenges you to a pissing marathon. You and him running around marking his neighborhood.

          2. Brotha Tuna,

            Some people should read your post at least ten times, and maybe your very personal earlier post at least 100 times, Maybe every morning would be even better.

  47. Not trying to be scandalous here but this just doesn’t seem to jive very well. Is there any possibility that Borland may have been in line to fail a drug test/get suspended and he just decided to avoid the shame this may bring on himself and family?

    By all accounts he seems like a really standup guy. I just question his coming to this conclusion at this point in his lifetime after not having had many concussions up to this point.

    Something just seems really weird here. He may have already been interested in the effects of brain trauma but feels like something just pushed him to this conclusion rather quickly.

    Sometimes people back out of something giving an honorable reason to avoid something else. I just hope that’s not the case with this young man.

    1. Murder. He’s on the verge of being indited for murder. That’s the only explanation for such irrational behavior. You nailed it.

      1. I have it on good authority he was a “Never Nude” and didn’t want to face another season figuring out how to secretly shower in cutoffs.

          1. You guys may have hit the nail right on the head. Borland thought he could do a decent job replacing Willis on the field but he was deathly afraid if he had continued success that he would be asked to pose nude in some magazine like Willis and Kaep were.

  48. Baalke: “Well guys, Borland’s gone. But don’t worry. You know the motto; next man uuu…”
    (Baalke turns to look for the next man and finds nobody standing there.)
    .
    .
    .
    ~ALOHA~

  49. Chris Borland was just interviewed on ESPN tv. It’s worth a listen; from the horse’s mouth. I find no reason not to take him 100% at his word. They’ll probably have the video posted on the website soon.

  50. Why do so many of you feel the need to find blame here? Stuff happens, it’s part of life and it’s not always about somebody doing something wrong. Blaming Borland for deciding he didn’t want to put his body through the rigors of pro football is ridiculous. It’s his life and he is the only one who is capable of making that decision. Getting angry with him for not telling the team sooner is also a waste of time. There wasn’t a run on ILB’s once FA started and certainly nobody the 49ers were going to rush out and sign regardless of when Borland told them his intentions.

    Borland wanted to play pro ball which is why he didn’t make this decision a year ago. Thought process’ change, and in this case a year of feeling like crap during and after the season obviously made the decision easier. There is no reason to blame anybody. A player decided this wasn’t for him anymore and walked away. It happens and you move on.

    1. We have nothing else to debate. This is the new, hot topic, and we will debate it until it’s truly dead horse. It’s like a First Take blog. Lol.

      1. I finally figured out how this could be spun into it being Kaeps fault. Borland knows that Kaep’s inconsistency with the offense will mean more defensive snaps for him subsequently increasing his chance of injury. If the Niners had a better QB Borland would not have quit.

      1. There was a lb out of UOP who played for Atlanta who like Borland exceeded expectations and then just quite for health reasons. He changed changed his mind and tried a comeback but didn’t succeed. Think Mike Merryweather was his name. Believe that was in the seventies.

  51. I’m getting terrible performance here this morning. I’ve tried two different browsers. Anyone else having trouble using a PC?

      1. I was an early adopter. I think that first generation PC was in operation somewhere in our extended family for a long time. Then it was dropped into Kilauea as a sacrifice. Kilauea spit it back up.

      1. Really is a shame that he’s taking heat for this. Ryan is a local guy(lives in Danville) and is a lifelong 49ers fan. Used to enjoy him when he was on Sirius NFL with Pat Kirwan.

    1. That’s an intelligent defense of Tim Ryan from those who don’t understand their own language. I don’t know why Tim would want to make that distinction, but there was absolutely no reason to attack him for it.

      The only thing that Smith messed up was Tim’s job which in reality wascommentary for the regular season on radio, not just TV preseason.

  52. In the next few years there will be lots of media talk about “how to fix football.” Many of the solutions will involve even more complicated rule changes and expensive equipment.

    My two cents for a relatively simple solution…

    (1) Helmets with padding inside and outside the shell. A modern version of the old leather head with some shell support imbedded within the padding. The helmets wouldn’t be significantly larger… just a portion of the padding would be on the exterior.

    (2) The same with shoulder “pads.” No hard shell exterior.

    (3) Clear tackle and block zone… above the knee, below the neck. All positions. The only exception is tackling a ball carrier from behind.

    Essentially, football would be more of a grappling sport, less of a striking sport. That’s what it was intended to be. When I was a kid, the word “tackle” was predominant. The word “hit” was rarely used.

    1. It’s the physics inside the skull that are problematic. You can protect the outside from force, but the sudden stop of the body brings brain matter into collisions inside the skull. Brain fluids accelerate the mass momentum.
      Think of the brain as an UN-seat belted car passenger in a head-on collision.
      There used to be an expression around the NFL when players got rummy: “That old boy done filled the 4 Hole a few times too many.”

      1. The never-really-solved problem going back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt…
        American football has momentum. Players have a running start from a completely opposite angle. The impacts are like car crashes.

        I once demonstrated the principal when I was in Ireland, and they questioned our use of helmets and pads. It was in a quiet B&B breakfast room. I held my hands a half inch apart and clapped hard as I could. The impact was minor. The I did the same thing with my hands six inches apart. Made a heck of a sound. My hands stung.

        I think they finally got it.

        1. Here’s one for you Brodie, from a noted physicist.

          Neil deGrasse Tyson @neiltyson · Feb 1
          Just an FYI: A 250 lb football player, running 15 mph, has more kinetic energy than a bullet fired from an AK-47 rifle.

              1. Tyson was talking about kinetic energy. I wasn’t a physics major, but when I worked with this we talked about energy dissipation. A head on collision would dissipate all of the energy as long as the collision is inelastic and there is no resulting movement of the two objects together afterwards (i.e. a car hitting a brick wall). An elastic collision would be bouncing a rubber ball off a wall and even that collision is not 100% elastic).

                But yeah, there would be a negative acceleration so the force is there, but the energy is what is absorbed. I suspect there are a few physics majors on this blog who might want to chime in. And there’ll probably be others who will tell us to take this topic to a physics blog. :)

        2. I’m not a helmet physicist Brodie, but I agree that the sport should continue to explore more options. BT made a point about the physics inside the skull, and while it is the crux of the problem, it doesn’t mean more can’t be done. Usain Bolt’s brain has a tremendous amount of momentum (mass X velocity), but it’s only when that type of momentum faces extreme deceleration that injury occurs. Perhaps softer exteriors would serve as an early, but likely minor, break for the metaphorical car.

  53. I respect the decision itself–he should choose the life he wants to lead.
    .
    But I’m sorry…if he knew before the season started that he was only going to play one year, he should’ve informed the team, period.
    .
    To me, it’s like giving two weeks notice before you quit a job.
    .
    Common courtesy???
    .
    Just saying…
    .
    .
    .
    ~ALOHA~

  54. I’m sure that when discussing Chris Borland as far back as last season, and during this off-season discussions have always come back to his lack of size, I particularly remember mentions of him being steamrollered by Marshawn Lynch and quotes like “how’s he gonna stop Lynch and other big backs” etc etc, and to be honest they were all kinda true,

    I think Borland realized this but struggled to accept it, I mean the NFL is the dream of millions upon millions of kids throughout America, and increasingly abroad too. That he has chosen to step away now, to me that’s tremendously brave, he’s walking away from millions of dollars and his childhood dream, and ultimately I believe it may well be at least in part because of his small stature, the impacts his body would have encountered surely would have been harder on him than on say someone of Willis’ stature, therefore magnifying the long term damage that Borland would have absorbed. Making the prospect of diminished capabilities in later life a much larger issue for him personally.

    I greatly respect his decision to retire now, although I do have a tiny reservation as to the timing like others. But then of course he may have informed Baalke before free agency and it has been Baalke’s decision to take the course he has even with that knowledge. Because at the end of the day….we don’t know……we think we know……but we just don’t know..

  55. Tony Pauline @TonyPauline · 1h 1 hour ago
    49ers respond to LB retirements by scheduling official visit with Benardrick McKinney/Miss St who’s also visiting Cowboys, Broncos & Texans

  56. GreggisKhan Do you know if Borland informed Baalke of his decision prior to F/A?

    MM: To my knowledge, Borland informed Trent Baalke about his decision on Friday. I do know that Baalke, on Wednesday, spoke about Chris Borland and Michael Wilhoite stepping in and sharing the role to replace Patrick Willis.

  57. MattMaioccoCSN moderator39 minutes ago
    @GreggisKhan Does the Borland situation change how Baalke and his scouts approach future prospects?

    MM: Yes, I do. Here’s another story. Several years ago, I was speaking with a scout. I asked him about a particular player from Stanford. The scout’s answer, “He’s too STANFORD for me.”

    What the heck did that mean?

    The scout said that he prefers guys who are all-about football. Stanford guys have a tendency to have interests outside of football. And, the perception of this scout, was that guys with a lot of outside interests are distracted and are more apt to find something else to do when football gets too difficult. I think teams are going to start paying particular attention and try to figure out which players are more likely to play just a couple of seasons and then be satisfied by moving onto the next phase of their lives.

    1. Interesting…. I remember when Myron Rolle, a FSU, DB was coming out of college. He was a Rhodes Scholar. Teams were skeptical because they knew he could walk away at any time. Needless to say, he chose his scholarship over the NFL.

      1. I was just recalling all the Stanford grads who did well in the NFL……… I won’t be boring and list them…..but there were plenty.

            1. I mean a Stanford olineman who lived up to his hype out of college. Dalman was a sixth round pick who as I recall achieved more than he was expected to.

              1. Hey, George. Reading these posts made me think of – I believe his name was Whitfield? Tackle out of Stanford that was awesome, so awesome that he left Stanford in his junior year without finishing his degree, having been offered a contract he couldn’t refuse. “I’m not stupid,” I remember him saying at the time – meaning he was going for the big bucks now rather than putting at risk a lucrative career by playing a possibly injurious senior year of college football. If memory (and it don’t so good anymore) he went to the Falcons and enjoyed a successful career there. This woulda been around 1991 0r 1992 . . .

              2. Pittsburgh Steelers

                The Pittsburgh Steelers selected DeCastro with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was the first offensive guard taken in the first round by the Steelers since Kendall Simmons in 2002. In the third preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, DeCastro injured both his right ACL and MCL. After DeCastro was carted off the field, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated that the injury was a “potentially severe” right knee injury. While engaged with Bills defensive tackle, Marcell Dareus, DeCastro’s teammate, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, fell on his right leg thus causing the injury.[16] On November 26, DeCastro was activated to the active roster, while Gilbert was placed on injured reserve.[17]

                This will be his fourth year coming up. He played in four games in 2012 and started three of them. He played in 15 games in 2013 and 16 games in 2014. He started all of them.

      2. If he does it’s because he has Stanford choices. Any University that educates it’s football players is too “Stanford” — Wisconsin for one.

  58. MattMaioccoCSN

    Just a quick aside. . . I remember when the 49ers were training in Stockton. There was an undrafted rookie from the Santa Rosa area. He was taking part in these two-a-day practices. Those things were brutal. So this one day after a couple weeks of camp, I see the player with his bags packed leaving the campus. I go up to him and I asked, “What happened? Did they say why they’re cutting you?” The player told me, “They didn’t cut me. I’m leaving on my own.”

    I’d spoken to legendary O-line coach Bobb McKittrick several times about this player. And McKittrick thought he had a chance to become a legitimate NFL player. An hour or so later, I saw McKittrick. I asked him, “Are you upset that he left the team?”

    I’ll never forget what McKittrick told me that day:

    “Am I upset? Heck, no. I’m happy for him. The NFL is not for everyone. It’s tough. There are a lot of risks. If you’re not 100-percent committed to playing professional football, you have no chance. The sooner you figure out whether this game is for you or not, the better off you’ll be.”

  59. As we talk about Borland being undersized for ILB, it makes me look with worry at prospects like Kendricks, or trying to move a Shaq Thompson inside. They’re both terrific football players and could be intriguing as 2/3 down LBs, but not sure about 1/2 downs. The chance of getting a 3 down ILB seem remote.

    1. McKinney and Anthony are the only top ILB prospects that have the size and athleticism combo you look for. I think Kendricks will be able to play 3 downs also, though he is a little undersized.

      Perryman and Dawson look like thumpers in the middle, while Thompson and Alexander look like guys that should play WILL in a 4-3 to me. They may be able to play ILB in a 3-4, but I worry how well they’ll hold up against the run.

      1. I’m really liking Kendricks the more I see of him. He may be gone by the time we make our 2nd pick though. He would likely need to add some bulk.

    2. Weren’t Willis and Bowman classified as undersized for the prototype ILB as well? I think Kendricks will be fine if he just adds 10-15 pounds to his frame.

      1. Not really, both guys were in the 240+lbs range coming out of college. There was a time when most traditional 3-4s had one ILB that was 250+lbs to better handle stacking and shedding (the strongside ILB), but with the shift to more passing attacks that was already starting to fall off when Willis was drafted.

        Kendricks at 232lbs would be a bit undersized. However, the way the game is going and the way the 49ers play they could probably make it work. Borland was more about using his quickness and instincts to avoid blockers and fill the hole. Kendricks could do the same.

        1. I was referring to their height. Both are under the prototypical height of an ILB and therefore undersized.

  60. Every time Baalke made an exception from his usual height-weight-speed standards……he always gets burnt

    Jenkins now Borland

    1. Big difference between Jenkins and Borland. Borland could actually play. Dud hit hard in college. Jenkins had too many red flags which implied that he was at his peak strength already. Can not blame TB for Borland what-so -ever.

  61. MattMaioccoCSN moderator1 hour ago
    @hcut2k4 Michael Wilhoite is the only linebacker to start all 16 games of the Niners’ top 5 defense. While depth has to be a concern, it seems people are getting a little carried away the demise for the 49ers.

    MM: There’s nothing wrong with NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite as a starting pair of inside linebackers. I still think their situation at cornerback is of a greater concern and will have a bigger impact on the season than their inside linebackers.

  62. Matt M. doesn’t seem that concerned about the ILB issues. From his chat today:

    MattMaioccoCSN moderator1 hour ago
    @kmcreyno Hi Matt. With losing so many “key” players recently, it feels like the football world is confused, while laughing at this soon to be disaster. In my opinion, as depressing as losing Willis, Borland, Gore, etc might be, it seems to be “white noise”. In my opinion, the season will mostly come down to the actions of Tomsula and Kap. Am I being too simplistic?

    MM: The 49ers’ season will come down to quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ pass defense. It’s (nearly) as simple as that.

  63. I and others have wondered about moving Brooks to ILB. Here’s Maiocco’s take on that:

    MattMaioccoCSN moderator1 hour ago
    @Alameda_Bill Any chance the 49ers move Ahmad Brooks inside?

    MM: I can’t imagine the 49ers would move Brooks inside on an every-down basis. But I’m sure Eric Mangini is still trying to figure out what to do with the players under contract.

  64. Here’s Maiocco’s take on adding Rolando Mclain as an ILB:

    MattMaioccoCSN moderator50 minutes ago
    @laratopete Have you heard anything about bringing Rolando McCain to replace Borland?

    MM: No, I have not yet heard anyone mention that, but I do know they believe they have a starter in Michael Wilhoite.

  65. Knowing all along you’re going to retire after one season and coming out with this news after free agency is basically done is a **tch move. Wouldnt want that kind of pansy playing with me anyways. Glad I was never a fan. Cya… I’ll get never forget you getting trucked by lynch.

  66. 24 hours ago we had Bowman-Borland inside. All the talk was (correctly) about how Baalke’s using free agency to leverage draft flexibility.

    Today we have Bowman-Wilhoite inside. Not bad A drop off, but not a huge decline.

    If Bowman is 90% or better with decent speed, he can play the “QB of the defense.” This frees up Wilhoite to be more aggressive vs the run. That combination’s worked well before.

    The larger loss will be draft flexibility. I have no idea how deep ILBs are in this draft. I’d be tempted not to change draft strategy at all. Get the same targeted players. Make the same aggressive trades. Hope decent ILB depth is there on day three.

    A possible work around… if (a big “if) Trae Waynes projects to be a true “shut down” corner that can play without safety help, the 49ers could drop an extra player down into the box.

    The extra man in the box (like big thumper McCray) would hide a multitude of weaknesses. It would also resolve the Graham match-up issue.

    But is Waynes a true shut down corner, or merely good?

    1. I hope Brooks will be the ilb instead of Whilhoite. He’s slow and doesn’t seem to hustle like Willis or Borland.

    2. I’m trying to look at the positive with this Borland thing. He was an instinctive tackling machine but lacking in height and speed, and tending to be prone to injury. We are back to square one as far as his spot is concerned, but there is the opportunity to get a good player who is a better fit.

      1. Good take. The match-up issue with players like Graham are still there. Baalke may have been looking into ILBs anyway for this very reason.

        The luxury of an extra defender in the box is what intrigued me. Over the last 4 years I’ve thought the 49ers have had the best overall talent on defense, but Seattle’s ability to drop an extra defender to fill run gaps, cover for blitzing LBs and harass tight ends was the tipping point.

        But true shut down corners are so rare. Most pro bowl corners still need safety help.

        1. You asked above if Waynes is a shut-down corner. Was Sherman a shut-down corner in college? Memory tells me no; also, if he were he would have been drafted in the early first round. I think the only way to tell about Waynes is to draft him and see. If they believe he’s got the physical attributes and is a student of the game, they need to take the chance.

            1. I’ve come to realise there are quite a few players I would be happy with at #15, and lots of ways Baalke could go. I think a good player will be there to be had.

              1. Same here Scooter, but I’d like him to sleep, eat and $h!t football with a mean streak. No more injured players this year please….

  67. So Stevie Johnson took a few days to find a new home while Crabtree continues to generate little interest, by all accounts. Why was Crabtree starting over Johnson last year?

    1. My sentiments exactly. On a per snap basis, Stevie was the more productive receiver. I won’t be surprised of Stevie Johnson thrives in San Diego.

          1. They could put set half the field on fire and stab him with an ice pick as he ran across to the side that wasn’t burning.

          1. I’ve watched most of the 2011 season, and am just starting on 2012. Crabtree wasn’t even close to being as quick during his contract year.

      1. With SJ going to San Diego I think he lost one of his best remaining options. I still see him in Houston or Dallas. If New Orleans had any cap space I think they would have signed him already.

    2. He said he didn’t want to come back right? Sign him up for retirement. Put a fork in him. He was extremely over hyped.

      1. He was one of the best playmakers in college football I’ve ever seen. Just when it started to show consistently he blew out the achilles. Unfortunate.

  68. Whew. This offseason has been a thrash for us fans. Think how it must be for Trent. By nature he’s a bit of a control freak and procedural guy and everything’s going all jiggy and Chaos Theory around him.
    If I’m him, at Noon today I called a catering company to set it up and then invited the coaches and FO staff and Jed for a Happy Hour Attitude
    Adjustment Session. “Let’s have a beer and some nibbles and a laugh this afternoon. Head home early, and come back tomorrow ready to kill it. Skoal!”
    In the words of Mr. Mick Jagger- You got to scrape that *#€* right off your shoes.

    1. You are right. Waking up to Borland’s retirement had me thinking it was April and a coworker was playing an April Fools joke on me. Onward we go.

  69. I’d like to ask a question again. Do we have a backup at power running back (to backup Hyde)? I don’t see one. It seems like Kendall and Reggie are COP backs.

      1. The Borland retirement’s put a crimp in my Jay Ajayi wishes.

        Depending on how the Miller thing goes, they might also need to draft depth at fullback.

          1. Good call. Just reviewed some Allen footage. Ajayi seems to have a more explosion off the cut in the backfield.

            But Buck Allen has better pad level just before contact. Good body lean. Good receiver. Good decision maker in the open field.

            Hard to compare. Allen ran through holes the size up pickup trucks… but in the rare moments he ran in traffic he showed nimble change of direction, good forward momentum.

            1. Good breakdown. Ajayi definitely is better, but Allen is a good value in the fourth round. More nimble than you’d expect.

          2. What’s your knock on Payne? Scooter and I seem to be on the same page with our mid round picks, we’re both liking McBride and Artis-Payne. I haven’t seen you mention either one.

            1. Artis-Payne isn’t particularly powerful.

              Tre McBride is a lot like Torrey Smith. I prefer Phillip Dorsett. He would give the 49ers something they don’t already have.

              1. The only things McBride seems to have in common with Torrey Smith is size and combine 40 time. You can’t measure what a player is like just off those things.

                Watching McBride play he is nothing like Torrey Smith.

                I’m not a massive fan of Artis-Payne, but I think he’s more likely to still be available at the 49ers 4th round pick (end of the 4th round) than Allen.

              2. Neither guy is a good route runner. McBride will be primarily a vertical receiver in the pros, like Smith. McBride does have bigger hands than Smith, and he’s a bit heavier than Smith, but Smith is a better player.

              3. If I’m given a choice between McBride or Hardy in the 3rd Round, I’m taking Hardy, and you can thank me later that you chose to go with his reliable, tried-and-true skill set over some bigger receiver with faster legs and flashier potential….

              4. I don’t think powerful is an adjective a lot of people would use to describe Gore but he’s done OK so far. I don’t want to come across like I’m trying to oversell him he’s mid round value in my eyes. I did find a little film of his and although he doesn’t wow you one thing that was impressive was his patience and ability to wait for the hole to open. Course sometimes he got caught waiting a bit too long but that’s fixable.

                McBride seems more Anquan Boldin then Torrey Smith. He’s physical and uses his body to block out defenders not to mention rubber magnet hands. He’s not a true X type that will command a double team but we’re talking the third or fourth round on a go to player.

              5. Boldin is bigger than McBride. McBride is blocking out bad players in those videos. He won’t be any good team’s Z.

              6. It wasn’t meant as a size comparison and Boldin isn’t a lot bigger. The comparison was in their aggression to snatch the ball out of the air and be physical against the defender on them.

              7. Hardy is a proven route runner that knows how to get open. He hardly ever drops a pass or make a mistake. His footwork and technique are top level. He’s a relentless worker off the field, a leader. He’s passionate and tough and he will block his man into the ground and bury him 6 foot under. He’s a plucker who owns the short to intermediate routes. He knows how to help out his quarterback and he’s the perfect heir to Boldin imho….

              8. Grant and razor, I think you are both wrong on McBride. He’s a smooth WR with excellent hands. He’ll be a guy that is dangerous at all levels of the field.

                McBride’s route running gets more negative press than it deserves. What it is is somewhat unrefined. He does however have some natural feel for setting up a DB. And as CfC said, he’s got great hands and ability to adjust to the football. I think he’s a guy that could go in the 3rd and with good coaching end up out-playing a lot of the WRs taken ahead of him.

              9. It’s an excellent comparison Scooter as far as skillset, it’s just I think Hardy has a fiery demeanor on the field like Boldin. Sure, what you see is what you’ll get with Hardy, but that’s consistent solid production.

                Landry 3-Cone 7.56
                Hardy 3-Cone 6.63

                Hardy Vertical-36.5
                Landry Vertical-31.5

              10. I really like how quickly he eats up a cushion. And I don’t think it was just a level of competition thing – his 1.49s 10 yard split shows he has fantastic acceleration.

        1. No, I had the 49ers drafting an ILB in the second round before Borland retired.

          I would draft Buck Allen in the fourth round.

          1. That’s a good pick.

            I’m not too concerned about RB. They are easy to find at every level of the draft, and even after.

    1. Millard. There’s college tape of him as a power tailback. He’ll get most work at FB, but he can fill as a short yardage or 4Q bell cow.

    2. As far as FA RBs go, Pierre Thomas might be an interesting option. He was cut so he wouldn’t count against the compensatory formula either.

        1. Why is that ridiculous? The Rams had one of the best DLs in the NFL last year (if not the best), and they’ve replaced Langford with Fairley.

            1. Look at how Detroit viewed him. They lost Suh and gained Cap Space and yet still didn’t retain Fairly. Their silence speaks loudly.

              1. I think the Lions were just fed up with having to deal with him. I wouldn’t want him, but as a 3rd DT on an already excellent DL, he could cause some problems for opponents.

      1. Yeah, no kidding, Razor. An easy reverse calculation based on draft position, which, ahem, is the ONLY legitimate criteria in freakin March! Sheesh! WTH wins anything in the first week of free agency? Power Ratings? Try Poser Ratings.

    1. I don’t agree with anything here. These rankings are premature. The loss of Iupati is blown out of proportion. Our linebacker situation is scary but a solid draft pick should fill that need. The sky is not falling and the teams that signed big players (philly) is still garbage where’s their oline? Qb, defense? And the chiefs nipping on the broncos really? Oh because Alex can throw the deep ball to Maclin right?
      These guys are idiots.

  70. As Mangini and Tomsula and Baalke are forced to embrace unpredicted and unwanted change, it will be interesting to see if they can do so gracefully. It’s a big challenge.
    What may be like a camel passing through the eye of a needle though is whether or not Jed can do so too. See, like us fans, Jed has to lower his expectations. He is NOT going to be presiding over his team as he hosts the SB I in his brand spanking new stadium. Fageddaboutit, Jed, it ain’t happening. We may get these boys back on track for the one after that, and your job will be to double your resolve and lower your public profile. Grab an oar and stfu!

      1. That seems likely. Maiocco in his chat today said that “The 49ers’ season will come down to quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ pass defense. It’s (nearly) as simple as that.” Maybe we should be worrying more about whether or not Kaep is improving working with Warner. Anybody see any article on that topic.

        1. Yup. Despite all the comings and goings, the biggest win/loss variable is Colin’s development (or lack thereof). His light bulb has to come on this year. Otherwise teams will continue 9-in-the-box defenses, the 49er defense will be on the field too long.

      2. Yep, there are still cuts to be made and they have cap space. Who knows what they’ll add. Throw in a solid draft and a better kap and it’s on.
        This year’s calling call is “us against the world”. Nothing like a wounded dog.

  71. Can’t help but notice that when I go back and read the initial and even the follow up comments by York and Baalke regarding Willis’s retirement there is never any mention of it being a surprise or unexpected yet it’s said repeatedly about Borland.

    You can point to his injury and try and say 20/20 hindsight style that it’s not all that surprising but you’d be full of hooey. If this was strictly a decision about health then it really should have come nearly as much of a surprise to the team as Borlands decision but again, there is never any mention that it caught them off guard. At least none in the quotes I’ve seen so far.

    No it’s not the same when an all pro with a distinguished career calls it quits vs a one year player but at the same time I still find it conspicuous that both were pretty big surprises but only one is being treated as such.

    1. You may be forgetting that Baalke and York have been with Willis and any medical problems he’s had for a long time and they have known what it’s taken for him to get on the field all of those years, especially last year.

      Why would it have to be a surprise to them? They respect Willis, and they also know everything the team doctors know about all of their players. What more do you want — a conspiracy?

      1. You may be forgetting that Baalke and York have been with Willis and any medical problems he’s had for a long time and they have known what it’s taken for him to get on the field all of those years, especially last year.
        —————–
        Is Borland on a different team cause why wouldn’t Baalke and York be just as familiar with Borlands medical problems this past season? Why are there reports coming out that even Borlands family was half expecting him to retire, hard to imagine that information wasn’t also known to those inside the organization.

        Just seems odd that they would truly be caught off guard by Borlands decision to retire but not Willis’s. No conspiracy just more credence that Willis’s decision to walk away wasn’t all his own.

        1. Borland alerted his immediate family just before the first preseason game that he was looking more carefully at the risk of the brain disease – called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE – that has been documented in many of the men who have played the game. He also told them that his career might be short for that reason.

          His family and Chris himself are not gossips, and there is nothing in his medical record to indicate to others that he was concerned with head injury. He did serious due diligence in his research and told the team as soon as he came to a final conclusion about what was best for him. He also played with great intensity every time he was on the field while he tried to come to terms with what he believes to be the risks associated with football.

          You seem to bothered by the idea that the 49ers are hiding something from you, or that a rational person could give up the rewards of a NFL career — be he a Borland or a Willis.

        2. Do you think that the 49ers told Willis that he would have to take a major cut in pay to come back? Do you think gossip in blogs like this one caused Willis to retire? What did Frank Gore do when he was actually in that position? If what you believe is true, than why didn’t Willis do what Gore did?

        3. Borland had made up his mind before last regular season started that he was going to retire after one season.
          “On Aug. 28, after the 49ers had played the preseason finale in Houston, rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland, 24, handed his parents a letter. The message: He planned to leave his lucrative, high-profile career after one season because he feared for his long-term health”
          http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2015/03/17/chris-borland-knew-in-training-camp-he-wasnt-long-for-nfl/

          I guess he had had second thoughts and figured he would spend another season backing up Willis/Bowman and then retiring. But Willis’s retirement forced his hand.

  72. note to “former” Coach Harbaw…
    Chris Borland leaves with something better than
    a Super Bowl ring – – – a bigger life, a bigger world.
    Can you imagine what that feels like?
    Probably not.
    (Pete Carroll can only shake his head and agree;
    this has nothing to do with his 2014 winning season.
    Again, we are talking about the bigger picture here.)

      1. Nice job Grant! You seemed to remove any trace of negative bias from your article and actually sounded optimistic on the positions that deserve optimism. You can write well when you’re not trying too hard to be overbearing and hypercritical. I enjoyed reading this one. Well done.

      2. This offseason has been a whirlwind and its only March. Good write-up Grant. It’s nice to hear you not-so-negative every once in a while.

        It’s a very unique situation we find ourselves in. Yes with all the losses that we’ve faced this offseason this would seem like a “rebuilding” year, but it almost seems like we still have the opportunity to be better. Secondary potentially better, D-line younger with more effective pass-rushing, upgrade at WR and potentially RB. We took some serious hits, but if this team can continue to add some depth through the draft and FA, and just stay relatively healthy, we could still have some success. And that’s definitely a testament to Baalke.

        We are the underdog this year, hated by the media, there would be no better feeling than to shut every one of them up this year.

      3. Grant, I noticed you have Pears at left guard. It seems to me they signed him to be back-up tackle. As you know, at right guard last year, he played poorly, according to PFF. The guy’s 6″8.

          1. Grant, your being very foolish if you think Pears will be a starter. Just because he is getting close to Boonr money doesn’t mean anything. Pears will not play guard unless there are injuries.. Once again Brandin Thomas will start.

      4. Grant your statement that this is now officially a rebuilding year goes hand in hand with my theory that the 9ers will trade back at least 2 and possibly 3 times in this years draft. I believe that they will end up with one 1st rd pick and at least two picks in the 2nd and 3rd rd’s. Next yr they will end up with a number of compensatory picks, the next 2 drafts are going to be key for the 9ers and they need quantity as well as quality.

    1. Me & DaNiners tossed it around yesterday. SF entered the off-season in a retooling mode, I’ll accept that. They probably thought they could work around the expected FA losses. The two retirements tipped the equation, so now they are rebuilding and they’d be best served keeping their heads and looking to the future in the draft; as they usually do.
      If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…………

        1. What if it eats it eats the bread off your bologna sandwich after you set it on the park bench??? Maybe it was trying to tell me that that’s just a bunch of bologna–not healthy for you…..I Wish Baalke and the York’s would be so kind about their bologna!!!

    1. There is a lot of truth in this article. I liked it. I also feel the same way about Willis, Borland, and Smith. I will forever be a Niners fan, but BARK, specifically York, did us no favors for the near future.

    1. Don’t know much about Miami’s QB… but I think a one year “prove it” deal on a team with a top QB might work better in the long run for Crabtree.

      Crabs skills fit a QB that’s a precise underneath passer. If I were Crabs, I’d consider offering Green Bay, New England a low value, one year deal.

      1. I don’t follow them either but from what I’ve read Tannehill makes his living on short underneath throws, very west coast based offense. I think it’ll fit Crabs quite nicely if he can close to the YAC wide out he was in 2012.

  73. Ian Rapoport ✔ @RapSheet
    Former #Cowboys DB Sterling Moore, who visited the #Steelers this week, is in SF today visiting with the #49ers

  74. Sports Agent @andysimms
    Michigan State’s Tony Lippett did drills at WR and CB today in front of 32 teams. Prospect at both spots. Teams differ on best position.

    1. Well, I guess if his knee was still a big problem he wouldn’t be running around a basketball court, so that’s something!

        1. That’s all that was shown on the video, but it could have been a much longer one on one game – or did I miss somthing.

          1. Training camp is where we’ll find out what level Bowmans’ knee will allow him to return to. If he can’t get back to an elite level or recovery time between stress is slow and painful, he could retire….

    2. Thats big. Basketball requires so much cutting and a lot of quick lateral movements. No way he’d be out there without doctor approval, and a whole lot of self confidence. Good stuff.

  75. Looks like Greg Hardy’s contract for 2015 is structured like Aldon Smith’s. On PFT:

    “New Cowboys RE Greg Hardy’s one-year contract has a base value of $11.3 million, but $9.25 million is tied up in per-game roster bonuses.
    The Cowboys protected themselves against Hardy spending more time on the Commissioner’s Exempt List by making his base salary ($750,000) as low as possible. Per-game roster bonuses are self explanatory; if Hardy isn’t playing in games he won’t be getting that money. Hardy can earn over $1.3 million just by reporting to offseason workouts. He can get another $1.8044 million through incentives based on sacks. This was a smartly-structured contract by the Cowboys. No portion of the deal is guaranteed.”

    We’re probably going to see more contracts structured like this for problem players.

    1. Jed should no longer mention Jim. He should try his best to make us forget about Jim. Too bad, we’ll remember those years for a while.

      As a University of KY basketball fan, this reminds of when UK fired Tubby Smith and hired the guy from Texas A&M. It did not end well.

    2. York wants to get back to those golden years before Harbaugh, when winning was farfetched but always with class…..

    3. Jed would be better off not talking. The worst case then would be that some would think he is like his father, interfering in football which he doesn’t understand. When he speaks, he brings certainty to the conversation.

      At some point during the year long campaign to prepare for the “mutual” departure we stopped hearing anything from uncle Eddie. That’s a story that I would like to know.

    4. Yup, little Jed is now taking direct aim at Harbaugh. It’s no coincidence that York never mentioned Harbaugh’ contributions in its totality given the 3 straight years of going deep into the playoffs.
      Yorkie is coming off like sour grapes and he is also creating a huge void for Tomsula to fill.

      Tomsula is being put in a position where winning a SB is a must – because it is the only way Jedie can justify parting ways with a very good coach in Harbaugh.

    1. I think its a good idea. He was miscast as the MLB in a Tampa 2 last year – he’s just not good enough in coverage for that type of D. He may be better suited as an ILB in a 3-4.

    2. If Scooter is right about him being misused it could be a good signing. He’s still young and he’s had good production despite possibly not being used to the best of his talents. He fits the bill physically of what the team likes at the position. If it turns out he wasn’t miscast I still think he’s a solid depth option.

  76. Trae Waynes reportedly very impressive at his pro day. Greatly improved on his 3-cone and shuttle times (apparently he had cramps at the combine which hampered him), and looked very good in position drills.

    1. Watched him this year and I’m telling you all. He looks like a future stud. From day 1 I’ve wanted this guy wearing red and gold. I hope he’s there at 15 an I hope Baalke pulls the trigger of he is.

      1. Yeah, I agree, I really like what I see. I think he’s the best pure coverage CB to come out in a few years.

        1. I think Wayne’s is awesome but you can forget about him getting to 15 or the Niners taking him. With the holes we have in this team expect Balke to trade down.. I’m convinced if he stays put keep an eye on Malcom Brown from Texas.. DL

  77. This could be the greatest Defensive coaches ever put together……..

    Mangini won three Super Bowl rings as the New England Patriots defensive backs coach from 2000-04 before becoming their defensive coordinator in 2005.

    Working aside Mangini are three assistants who formerly were defensive coordinators: Jason Tarver (senior assistant; outside linebackers), Clancy Pendergrast (linebackers) and Tim Lewis (secondary).

  78. The 49ers are almost 10 million under the cap, does anyone know how much of that is reserved for rookie contracts?

  79. Question for gents who wish to comment:

    If we got Waynes, would that likely increase our depth at safety? A few of last year’s CB picks played safety, I believe.

    1. George,

      Ward and Johnson both played Safety in College, but Johnson is better at CB imo. If they are able to land Waynes, he’d likely become an instant starter across from Brock and one of the vets they just signed would likely be released.

  80. Bucky Brooks ✔ @BuckyBrooks
    A college scouting director & LB coach told me that the ’15 class is loaded w/3-4 OLBs. Teams should be able to find starters even on Day 3.

    1. That’s good news for Aldon Smith insurance. Lemmonier has to show something in camp, or else.

      I wonder how the 2015 class is for ILB? Hate the idea of giving up BPA to “reach” for a merely adequate ILB.

  81. We didn’t get Sterling Moore. Maybe that’s because the new priority is ILB. On PFT:

    “Bucs agreed to terms with CB Sterling Moore, formerly of the Cowboys.
    Moore had also visited the Steelers and 49ers. Moore played both inside and out as a cornerback for the Cowboys last season, but also has experience at safety. He’ll battle Leonard Johnson for No. 3 cornerback duties. Moore should be on the field plenty in 2015.”

    1. What I don’t know is how the 49ers are feeling about Reaser and Acker’s recovery and talent. If they skip a corner in FA/Draft, those two will have alot to do with it.

  82. Rotoworld: Sterling Moore to sign with Bucs.

    Bucs agreed to terms with CB Sterling Moore, formerly of the Cowboys.
    Moore had also visited the Steelers and 49ers. Moore played both inside and out as a cornerback for the Cowboys last season, but also has experience at safety. He’ll battle Leonard Johnson for No. 3 cornerback duties. Moore should be on the field plenty in 2015.

  83. On Rotoworld:

    “49ers coaches reportedly felt free agent Michael Crabtree was “really slowed down” by lower-leg injuries in 2014.
    NFL Network’s Albert Breer also says there’s a negative “perception” about Crabtree’s attitude. The concern about Crabtree’s lower-leg injuries was borne out in his usage by the 49ers staff, which deployed Crabtree as a possession receiver. Lower-leg injuries also brought Hakeem Nicks and Michael Clayton’s careers to a halt. It’s not a surprise Crabtree has drawn scant interest in free agency. Even at age 27, he doesn’t separate or run after the catch like he used to.”

    1. cubus, Grimey9er – you guys were reading my mind about Ajayi. I was entering my Ajayi post below.

      Be nice to have the Hayne Plane and the J Train in the same camp.

  84. The good news… Jay Ajayi had a good pro day. Its also the bad news. It means he’ll go as high as round two.

    49ers interviewed Jay Ajayi. I think Borland’s retirement lowered the odds of getting him.

    I’m afraid the VGs (Value Groups) are accurate this year. The sweet spots for value relative to draft position seem to be picks 9-12 and 28-36. Hoping Baalke orchestrates a series of trades (up or down) to get into those spots.

  85. Any one notice the irony in the topic that Grant chose to follow this post? The “noble game of fist cuffs” where opponents of like weight go against one opponent at a time in a defined space.

    Then there is football where much smaller guys hit and are hit by giants, and heads are actually used as weapons, and the blows can come from any direction and from multiple opponents.

  86. Teams don’t have to wait to trade draft picks until the actual draft starts, do they? So, for example, Philadelphia could trade their 1st and Sam Bradford to Tennessee for Tennessee’s first any time they want to, correct? I’m pretty sure that’s correct, but would like some confirmation.

    1. Sorry, this was a stupid question. Seattle/New Orleans trade is an example. Now if we could just get that “delete” button.

        1. Thanks, Razor. In that vein (taken from Wikipedia):

          “Colin Powell says: “there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers”.

          “Designing Field Studies for Biodiversity Conservation says “there’s no such thing as a stupid question, as long as it ends in a question mark”.

          OTOH:

          “Ray Lewis? Yeah, Ray, how long have you been surrounded by thugs?”, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”, and “Can you name the Backstreet Boys?” were cited as stupid questions asked by the media pool at the 2000 Super Bowl.”

  87. Borland notified the 49ers three days into free agency. He used the time between the last game and then to make up his mind by talking with people in the brain dammage field.

    Maiocco:

    ““The 49ers drafted me, assuming I wanted to play more than one year,” Borland said. “At the time, I did, too. Things changed. They didn’t deserve to be undercut. And I didn’t want that to happen. But, ultimately, my individual health was important, so after the season I tried to talk to as many people as possible. At the same time, I wanted to let them know before the end of free agency, certainly before the draft so they could make the arrangements for finding my replacement.”

    The free-agent signing period opened March 10. Three days later, Borland spoke with general manager Trent Baalke about his decision.”

    1. htwaits…To us (bloggers) this is/was a fart in the wind….to Chris Borland, this was a life-changing decision. For myself, the loss is that I will no longer be able to watch him play. He’s like Larry Schreiber, Bill Ring, Paul Hofer, and several other past niners who threw their bodies into the ‘scrum’ full force, and paid the price for it with shortened careers and lifetime aches and painful reminders. I choose to salute Chris, and thank him for those 128 tackles, potential TD breakups, and coming back for more. Good luck Chris and I wish you a happy future. Sometimes it takes more guts to give it up than to stay. And as Bro Tuna said…”we’re just sitting here at the kitchen table”……

  88. will someone please perform a sweep
    of the San Francisco 49er facilities and
    remove any remaining khaki material
    from the premises. Thank you.

    Note to Coach Harbaw: ya couldda
    made it all cool for yourself if you had
    brought home Lombardi #6.

    Note to Kapurnicus: go buy a laser.
    Use it to “kiss your biceps”, okay?

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