What To Make of Chris Borland’s Retirement

Chris Schisler

They say that playing in the National Football League is a privilege. To be an NFL football player you have to be a special athlete, with a skill set most people only get to dream about. But due to concerns about brain injuries, 49ers linebacker Chris Borland has decided to retire.

When I saw the story on Twitter, about his retirement I was shocked. I continued scrolling, thinking that it was nothing more than an early April fools joke. When I saw the story again, and again by respectable sources, I knew it was real.

On one hand it is understandable. The more we learn about the potential effects of an NFL career, the more we understand the concern 24 year old Borland had for his safety.

On the other hand it seems foolish to throw away all the work it took to make it to the NFL. It seems early for a very good player to be calling it quits, over something that has not even happened yet.

I must admit, my perspective is a bit tainted. I would have done anything to be a NFL linebacker, just like my childhood hero, Ray Lewis. I was not able to live out this dream because, well I’m not one of the super humans that play in the NFL.

It honestly hurts to see someone who got this opportunity and gave it away. To the untalented there is nothing worse than seeing the talented not use their gifts. Playing in the NFL is special and Borland should have cherished it.

I guess its easy for me to say. I don’t have to worry about plaque on my brain. I don’t have to worry about getting my short term memory and cognitive abilities literally knocked out of my head. But here’s the thing, I would have done anything to be a linebacker in the NFL, and in Borland’s shoes, you’d have to drag me off the field in a stretcher before I’d even think of retirement.

Football is a brutal game. Thats part of what we love about it. I know nobody wants to say that in the age of political correctness, where conformity to social standards took away ESPN’s awesome weekly JACKED UP segment. There is no way around it, football is brutal.

This will have little impact on the football world. There will always be people lining up to play football for exorbitant salaries no matter the risk. There will be others like Borland though, if one does it others can follow. Still football is not dying by any standard.

I respect Borland’s decision. It just makes me sad to see a good player at my favorite position in all of sports, give up his talents.

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