March 17, 2015
In the 1976 movie “Logan’s Run” life is exciting, beautiful, sweet, fulfilling and fun. The only drawback is everything comes to an end when you’re 30.
There are fears that such a preposterous storyline might become a reality for the NFL.
Before this week most football fans had not even heard of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland but Borland’s shocking decision to retire from the NFL at the age of 24, after just one (very solid) year in the league has made the former Wisconsin Badger both suddenly famous but also, to some, an unlikely hero, a “Logan” for a new age of football and sport.
Borland told ESPN he was hanging it up because of his fear of concussions, of one day suffering serious brain damage because of NFL violence. And, as David A. Graham wrote for The Atlantic Monthly, what’s most surprising is “how quickly fans and fellow players seem to have accepted Borland’s decision.”
Indeed, Twitter is aglow with praise and understanding from fans and other players. And some players are doing the same thing.
Borland’s fellow Niners linebacker Patrick Willis, a five-time first team All-Pro, is also quitting football. He’s 30. Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker is hanging it up at the ripe old age of 26.
A decade ago the thought of walking away from millions of dollars at such a young age would have seemed crazy. Now, the prevailing belief seems to be not that he who hangs on the longest and gets the most money wins but he who gets what money he can and then walks away on his own terms, of sound mind and body, is the true victor.
“For me it wasn’t worth the risk,” Borland told ESPN. “I could be wrong…but for me it was the right decision.”
And a decision that has many people wondering what to decide about their own future in football.
And about the future of football itself.