Former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland saved the 49ers from a potential public-relations mess.
Borland said in a national-television interview on Sunday morning that he will voluntarily return three-quarters of his $617,436 signing bonus – or $463,077.
Borland was asked on "Face the Nation" whether he had any regrets about his decision to walk away from the game.
"Absolutely not," Borland said. "To play one year, it's not a cash grab as I've been accused of. I'm paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus. I'm only taking the money I've earned."
Borland signed a mandatory four-year contract as a third-round draft pick last season. The 49ers had the rights to reclaim a pro-rated portion of the money after Borland voluntarily stepped away from the game after just one season.
Last week, Borland, 24, announced he would no longer play football, citing his concern that repeated head trauma will lead to long-term damage to his brain. He did not sustain a documented concussion in his rookie season, but he said a hit to his head on a routine drill in training camp triggered his ultimate decision to step away from the NFL.
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Borland has a history degree from the University of Wisconsin. He said he plans to return to school and pursue a career in academics or business.
Many in the NFL expected the 49ers to reclaim a large portion of the signing bonus if Borland did not voluntarily give back the money because of the precedent it would set if the club allowed him to keep it. The 49ers were entitled to reclaim the money as part of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
“The 49ers drafted me, assuming I wanted to play more than one year,” Borland said last week on “CBS This Morning.” “At the time, I did, too. Things changed. They didn’t deserve to be undercut. And I didn’t want that to happen.”