Programming note: Watch Patrick Willis' retirement press conference today at Noon on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and streaming live right here.
Linebacker Patrick Willis had decided to retire after eight NFL seasons, the 49ers announced on Tuesday morning.
Willis, 30, will appear at a noon press conference at Levi’s Stadium to explain his decision to walk away from a possible Hall-of-Fame career after being selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons.
“On behalf of the entire San Francisco 49ers organization, my family, and our Faithful fans, I would like to thank Patrick for everything he has brought to this team and our community,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. “Some of the greatest memories in the history of our franchise have come from his passion, dedication and sacrifice.
“Patrick epitomizes everything you could ever want in a San Francisco 49er. What he brought to this team goes much further than his athletic abilities. His leadership and infectious love for the game helped propel this team. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up around some of the greatest players in the history of this franchise, and Patrick has certainly secured his place among that elite group of men. As a member of our family, Patrick holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to supporting him as he moves on from his playing career.”
Willis’ streak of seven consecutive Pro Bowls came to an end last season, as he appeared in just six games before opting for season-ending toe surgery.
Willis immediately became an All-Pro player after the 49ers selected him as No. 11 overall pick in the 2007 draft from Ole Miss. He became the first 49ers defensive rookie to be named to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro since Ronnie Lott in 1981.
Willis is the only player in 49ers history to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL. He is one of just seven players since 1970 to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven NFL seasons. Willis has been chosen to the All-Pro team six times.
Willis was prepared to announce his retirement last week, a source said. But he decided to hold off to give himself more time to think through his life-changing decision.
According to a source close to Willis, there were multiple issues that convinced him this was the right time to step away from the sport, including he health of his feet.
Based on his recent posts on social media, Willis appears to be intent on making an impact in life outside of football through religion. He is also interested in working with disadvantage youth in his home state of Tennessee, according to sources.