Roger Goodell says he respects Chris Borland's decision to retire at age 24

Monday March 23rd, 2015

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he respects former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland's decision to retire at age 24 and doesn't think his retirement will prompt other players to give up football.

Borland retired last week due to concerns over the effects of repeated blows to the head.

"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told ESPN. “From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk.  I just thought to myself, 'What am I doing? Is this how I'm going to live my adult life, banging my head, especially with what I've learned and know about the dangers?” 

Goodell said that he respected Borland's choice to walk away from the game.  

[]“You have to respect his decision. It’s his judgment,” Goodell said to The MMQB’s Peter King. “As you point out, players retire all of the time. They make those determinations. They balance a lot of issues that are sometimes personal to them.”

Goodell also said there was a 25 percent reduction in concussions last year and that the NFL will continue to work on making the game safer.

"This isn’t something that came up yesterday for us. We’ve been working on the safety of our game throughout our history—with an incredible focus on it in my personal time as commissioner," he said.

When asked if he thought Borland is an outlier, Goodell repeated his stance on players retiring.

“Again, players are making the decisions whether to play or not play every day. They’ll be making it for a variety of reasons—injury, career … If they have all the facts and are making a personal judgment, you have to respect that,” Goodell said. “People are going to make those decisions based on, we hope, facts and whatever their personal judgment is.”

- Scooby Axson

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.