NFL notes: 49ers LB Borland retires due to head trauma worries
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland is retiring from football due to worries about head trauma. Borland, 24, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Monday that he informed the 49ers of his decision Friday, and the team confirmed the news Mon...
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland is retiring from football due to worries about head trauma.
Borland, 24, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Monday that he informed the 49ers of his decision Friday, and the team confirmed the news Monday night.
The team’s leading tackler last season as a rookie, Borland earned an NFC Defensive Player of the Week award and also was the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. A late-December ankle injury caused him to end the season on injured reserve.
Some of Borland’s action came as a fill-in in for injured veteran Patrick Willis. Last week, Willis retired at 29, citing foot injuries.
Even though he told ESPN he was diagnosed with only two concussions, both while in high school, one while playing soccer and the other while playing football, Borland said he will not change his mind about retiring.
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” said Borland, who is 5-foot-11, 248 pounds. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.
“I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve ever been. For me, it’s wanting to be proactive.”
According to “Outside the Lines,” post-mortem studies found more than 70 former NFL players had progressive neurological disease.
San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Monday night, “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.”
A third-round draft pick in 2014 out of Wisconsin, Borland recorded 107 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and five passes defensed during his lone season with the 49ers.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
- Vince Wilfork reunited with Bill O’Brien on Monday when the longtime New England Patriot signed a two-year contract with the Houston Texans.
The deal is worth $9 million, including $5 million guaranteed, according to the Houston Chronicle. O’Brien, the second-year coach of the Texans, was an assistant with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011.
Wilfork, 33, joins a defensive line that is led by two-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt and includes 2014 first overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Wilfork played in New England for the past 11 years. The Patriots declined to pay a $4 million roster bonus last week, making him a free agent.
The Texans also signed wide receiver Cecil Shorts to a two-year contract worth $6 million, including $2.5 guaranteed, according to McClain.
- The Cleveland Browns signed cornerback Tramon Williams and defensive tackle Randy Starks.
Williams signed a three-year contract reportedly worth $21 million, and Starks signed a two-year deal worth $8 million. Starks, 31, was released last Wednesday by the Miami Dolphins, clearing room for Ndamukong Suh and his $114 million contract.
Williams, who turned 32 on Monday, played his first eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, tallying 28 interceptions and averaging about 14 pass breakups per season.
- The Philadelphia Eagles worked out quarterback Tim Tebow, who last played in the NFL in 2012, on Monday but did not offer him a contract.
Tebow has been an analyst for the SEC Network. He last played for the New York Jets in 2012 after playing two seasons with the Denver Broncos.
- Quarterback Marcus Mariota visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, days after general manager Jason Licht led a three-man contingent to Eugene, Ore., for the Heisman Trophy winner’s pro day.
Mariota follows Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston through team headquarters at One Buc Place. The two passers are the favorites to be drafted with the first overall pick April 30, and Winston is the presumptive leader in the clubhouse. The visit comes on the same day as reports that Winston might be leaning toward watching the draft in the company of friends, family and supporters in Alabama. His father said that decision isn’t yet final, and the Buccaneers likely would want their top pick on display if Licht chooses Winston.
- Three days after signing Christian Ponder, the Oakland Raiders released quarterback Matt Schaub.
The move Monday saved the team $5.5 million against the salary cap. Schaub, 33, was acquired last year from the Houston Texans for a sixth-round draft pick but ended up losing the starting job to rookie Derek Carr.
- The Patriots signed tight end Scott Chandler. The seven-year veteran had spent the past five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, catching 182 passes for 2,120 yards and 17 touchdowns.
- The Chicago Bears signed guard Vladimir Ducasse to a one-year contract.
A second-round pick by the New York Jets in 2010, Ducasse has played in 63 games with the Jets (2010-13) and Minnesota Vikings (2014). The 6-foot-5, 325-pound lineman from Haiti started six games for the Vikings last season.
- Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald plans to sue the woman accusing him of sexual assault.
McDonald confirmed to ESPN on Monday that a lawsuit will be filed. “I feel like what I am doing is the right thing because I know that I am not this bad person that people are making me out to be,” McDonald told ESPN. “I’ve been fired from my job. I know some teams don’t even want to talk to me because of this past accusation. All I am trying to do is clear my name and move on with my life.”
- DeMaurice Smith was re-elected as the NFL Players Association’s executive director, the union announced Sunday night.
Representatives from every team except the Buffalo Bills participated in the election held in Hawaii, according to USA Today. Smith prevailed on the first ballot - receiving at least 15 of the 31 votes - against a field that included eight challengers. The vote totals were not revealed.
- The Minnesota Vikings announced the hires of assistant coaches Andrew Janocko and Robert Rodriguez. Janocko will serve as offensive quality control coach, and Rodriguez will be an assistant defensive line coach.