SANTA CLARA -– Chris Borland’s decision to retire this offseason, citing concern of the long-term effects of head trauma, did not cause 49ers safety and former teammate Eric Reid to give his choice of occupation any second thoughts.
Reid, a former All-Academic SEC selection, sustained three concussions in his first two NFL seasons. But said he has not wavered in his commitment to football.
“No, not at all,” Reid said on Friday. “Every guy has to evaluate his decision, whether it’s a concussion, whether it’s an ankle sprain or a torn ACL. With any injury, you have to evaluate it yourself and make a personal decision.”
Borland spent extensive time over the past five months with ESPN reporters Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada. Borland spoke about his decision to step away from the sport after leading the 49ers in tackles last season despite making just eight starts as a rookie. Borland clearly has issues with the sport that he described as “dehumanizing.”
"Dehumanizing sounds so extreme, but when you're fighting for a football at the bottom of the pile, it is kind of dehumanizing,” Borland said. “It's like a spectacle of violence, for entertainment, and you're the actors in it. You're complicit in that: You put on the uniform. And it's a trivial thing at its core. It's make-believe, really. That's the truth about it."
Reid said he was aware of Borland’s comments.
“I saw the video,” Reid said. “You have to respect the way he feels about it. Football is a violent sport, but you know what you sign up for when you put those shoulder pads on. I agree with certain aspects of it. I disagree with certain aspects of it. But you have to respect his decision either way. I’ve had concussions, and I’m still here. I still love the sport. I think I’m still very healthy.”
Reid said he took issue with Borland’s comparison of football to combat sports.
“He compared it to boxing and MMA,” Reid said. “Those are completely different sports, so I kind of disagree on that aspect, but it is a violent sport. I agree with that.”