Borland to Repay 49ers 75% of Bonus After Leaving NFL

Linebacker Chris Borland said he’ll return 75 percent of his signing bonus -- about $463,000 -- to the San Francisco 49ers after leaving the National Football League because of concern about long-term brain trauma.

Borland, 24, said on March 16 that he decided to retire just one season into his four-year, $2.9 million contract. It paid him a base salary of $420,000 as a rookie last season, when he had 108 tackles in 14 games for the 49ers, and included a $617,000 guaranteed signing bonus.

“To play one year, it’s not a cash grab as I’ve been accused of,” Borland said in an interview with CBS News’ ‘Face the Nation’’ on Sunday. “I’m paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus. I’m only taking the money I’ve earned.”

Borland, who was a history major at the University of Wisconsin, said he decided to walk away from football after considerable research, concerned that continuing to play could lead to long-term neurological diseases.

“This to me is just about health and nothing else,” Borland told CBS News. “I’ve never played the game for money or attention. I love football. I’ve had a blast and I don’t regret the last 10 years of my life at all. I’d do it over the exact same way. From here on I’m moving forward.”

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