NFL Player Who Walked Away Now an Unpaid Intern

Chris Borland working with Jimmy Carter's organization
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2016 11:19 AM CDT
Updated Jun 12, 2016 7:41 AM CDT
NFL Player Who Walked Away Now an Unpaid Intern
Linebacker Chris Borland walks on the practice field during the San Francisco 49ers' rookie camp in 2014.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

When he stunned the NFL by retiring after a great rookie season over concussion concerns, Chris Borland was labeled "the most dangerous man in football" by ESPN. So what's Mr. Dangerous up to these days? The 25-year-old is currently working as an unpaid intern in Atlanta for the Carter Center, a nonprofit set up by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, reports the Washington Post in a lengthy profile of the former San Francisco 49er. Borland still has no qualms about walking away from millions—he even had to return more than $600,000 of his signing bonus. In all, he made about $574,000 from his short NFL career, but he explains that his own extensive research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, made the decision an easy one. For one thing, Borland worked with a UCLA researcher to determine that he'd suffered about a dozen serious concussions in his lifetime.

“If I were in it for the money or to play a few years, maybe you can say, ‘Well, I’ll be the outlier. I’ll be fine,’" he tells the Post. “But inside linebacker with concussion history with the goals of playing for a decade—I felt that I’d fit into the category of guys who had impairment.” Borland says he doesn't preach to current friends who still play in the league about the dangers, but he adds that up to 10 players have reached out to him for further information, and, of those, two are near a decision about retirement. His bigger worry is about youth players. Adults can decide for themselves about the risks, but "I don’t think you can make an informed decision at 5 years old, don a helmet and subject your brain to G-force hits.” Click for the full story. (More concussions stories.)

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