It’s the NFL’s biggest problem. Concussions have dominated the news for the past few years. We’ve seen the devastating effects it has on life after football. From Jim McMahon’s interviews where he frequently gets lost in his day to day life to Junior Seau’s suicide. If you are an NFL player it’s literally like playing Russian roulette.
Chris Borland was a third round pick in last year’s draft. He was the 2013 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year, started for the injured Patrick Willis and did amazingly well as a rookie. With Willis’s recent retirement, he would become the anchor of the 49er’s linebacking corp. He would be off to a 10+ year career, making close to 100 million dollars. So what did he do? He retired! At the age of 24, he did the research, a lot of research and what he read scared him. He’s had concussions and with each play of the ball he concluded that he was rolling the dice with the remainder of his life.
There has been so much debate of whether or not the NFL should be scared, whether the first shot has been fired and now a lot more people will retire. I don’t think that’s true. We had seen this before, people retiring early on in their career. I immediately though back to the 1990s when running back Robert Smith, who retired even though he seemed to be in the prime of his career. His retirement didn’t move the needle. Neither will Chris Borland’s. What his retirement will do is make parents think twice about letting their children play football. We may not see the effects of this for 20 years, when sports like soccer, baseball and basketball will be seeing more athletic players.
The real concern in the card world is now down to prospecting. It was tough enough to figure out who will be good and who will be a bust out of a draft, now you have to figure out who will not retire early due to injury concerns. Borland’s cards have already taken a hit. He’s gone form a $20 autograph to a $10 one and will more likely drop from there as the years go on. I’ve stopped prospecting years ago, I want players that are established as rock solid assets and not one year / amateur wonders. I am very curious as to how other people feel about not only prospecting NFL players, but also how the Borland announcement will change the football landscape.