One of the best linebackers in the NFL is expected to walk away from the game at age 30.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is getting set to call it a career, according to Yahoo! Sports NFL insider Rand Getlin.
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Willis appeared in just six games last season for the 49ers. His season was cut short in November when he underwent surgery for a strained muscle in his left big toe.
“I felt, maybe just give it a couple of weeks but it just didn’t get better,” Willis said at the time, according to ESPN.com. “I feel like I have five or six years left in my body so I have to think about the big picture. I promise you when I come back I will be bigger and better than I was.”
Injuries have been a hurdle for Willis in recent seasons. He’s played in all 16 games just once since the 2009 season. Despite that, Willis was five-time All-Pro (most recently in 2012), and Willis was named to seven Pro Bowls. He also was named the 2007 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Willis isn’t the only player walking away from the 49ers, though. ProFootballTalk.com reported Monday morning that defensive lineman Justin Smith is also retiring. That’s a far less surprising development given Williams turns 36 in September and just finished his 14th NFL season. He still had a strong 2014 campaign, though, with five sacks in 16 games for San Francisco.
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