49ersville: The New Retirement Community
Three years removed from contending in Super Bowl XLVII and ultimately losing against the Baltimore Ravens, the San Franciso 49ers are undergoing a major reconstruction.
And we're not just talking simple maintenance.
We're talking a complete demolition project with re-licensing to rebuild.
Jim Harbaugh is gone. After compiling a 44-19 record over a four-year span -- including three consecutive NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl -- Harbaugh and 49er management parted ways with no love lost whatsoever.
Insert culture change.
And once that change took place, a slew of 49ers decided to apply early for the AARP.
Patrick Willis, perennial Pro Bowler and one of the best linebackers in 49er history, decided to retire after a injury-riddled 2014 season. That created a huge void, given how invaluable he was to the Niner defense. And he's only 30 years old.
I'm guessing that with what he already had in the bank, his 2015 salary of $7.8million wasn't worth his nagging toe that limited him to only six games in 2014. The other medical alerts no doubt kicked in, too.
Chris Borland, who's only 24, decided to hang up his cleats. A promising linebacker, Borland did a bit of independent research and didn't think football was worth the risk of potential brain damage.
|I just want to live a long healthy life, and I don't want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise|
You can't really blame him. Ultimately it's his decision to make, and playing football can be more risk than reward, given the violent nature of the game.
Even more recently, 25-year-old offensive lineman Anthony Davis also packed it in. He reiterated the same concerns as Borland.
The idea of early retirement is starting to catch on. Most NFL players don't have long careers, but most promising youngsters -- from what I've seen -- don't walk away from the sport unless something major prevents them from playing the game they love.
Maybe players nowadays are more aware of their bodies and how taxing a 16-game season can be on their overall mental and physical health. With a veritable plethora of studies regarding concussions and other after-effects of a football career,, players are much more educated nowadays and, therefore, smarter about what they should or shouldn't do in terms of continuing their careers.
Or, maybe San Franciso is just becoming the new Florida.
He's here all week.
Meanwhile, I foresee a fleet of Cadillacs and daily tee times eventually becoming a part of the 49er community.