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Chris Borland Says He's Giving Back 3/4 Of His Signing Bonus After Retiring Due To Health Concerns

Published by Huffington Post on Sun, 22 Mar 2015

In addition to walking away from what many expected would be a successful career in the NFL, Chris Borland said Sunday that he's giving back some of his money too. "To play to one year is 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 said on CBS's "Face the Nation."Borland rocked the NFL community after he announced last week that he was walking away from the league over concerns of head injuries and the possible long-term trauma it could cause. At only 24-years-old and after a stellar rookie season with the 49ers, it came as a shock to see a promising athlete speak out against the growing health concerns surrounding the sport.Despite criticism that Borland said he has received, the linebacker said Sunday that his decision is "about health and nothing else.""I never played the game for money or attention," he said. SBNation's Niners Nation (which last week raised the issue of whether Borland should hand back the signing bonus) broke down how much money Borland could be returning:Borland received a $617,436 signing bonus. For cap purposes it was prorated over four years. His comments would indicate he will return $436,077 of that bonus.Borland also dismissed the NFL's response to his departure. The league said in a statement that the game "has never been safer," citing rule changes and improving equipment and medical care. But while Borland acknowledged these initiatives, he said the nature of the game means it will remain a threat to players' health. "I think football is inherently dangerous and that'll never change so long as we have football," he said. "Talking about the culture of safety is really irrelevant."The former player said there absolutely is a culture of violence within the game, admitting that he too loves the "visceral feeling," but that players need to be aware of the dangers. "That doesn't mean football players are pieces of meat. I think the most important people to convey that message to is the football player himself," he said. "You're not a commodity, you're a person."
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