What Does Chris Borland's Retirement Mean for the NFL?

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Recent studies about concussions and the risk of brain damage have raised the question of whether it is safe to play football. One young, potential NFL all-star has decided the answer is, "no."

Chris Borland was a top rookie for the San Francisco 49ers this past season — and when veteran linebacker Patrick Willis retired this month, Borland knew he was the heir apparent. But he decided it wouldn't be worth it. "I just don't want to get in a situation where I'm negotiating my health for money. And who knows how many hits is too many…I'm not willing to sacrifice 15-20 years of my life … I could be wrong, I hope I am, I hope my friends and teammates who've played this game and decide to continue to play this game are healthy, but for me, just personally I don't think the risks are worth what I could gain from football."

That's from an interview with ESPN.com, which broke the story of Borland's decision. Steve Fainaru is a senior writer.