Chris Borland
refer to caption
Borland with the Wisconsin Badgers in 2013
No. 50
Position:Inside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1990-12-26) December 26, 1990 (age 29)
Kettering, Ohio
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:248 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Archbishop Alter
(Kettering, Ohio)
NFL Draft:2014 / Round: 3 / Pick: 77
Career history
* San Francisco 49ers ( 2014)
Career highlights and awards
* PFWA All-Rookie Team (2014)
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:107
Forced fumbles:0
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at

Christopher Borland (born December 26, 1990[1]) is a former American football linebacker who played for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Wisconsin, and was drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He is one of the first NFL players to retire from professional football early in his career due to concerns of mid-term brain damage inherent to the sport.[2]

Early years[edit | edit source]

Borland attended Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio, where he was first-team All-state and All-conference player of the year. He was the team captain and MVP. He was a letterman in football, track, basketball and tennis. As a senior, he had 72 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries on defense, and rushed for 1,230 yards and 19 touchdowns on offense.[3]

In track & field, he was one of the state's top performers in the shot put. He placed fifth at the state meet in the shot put as a junior. At the 2008 Fairmont Firebird Invitational, he recorded a PR of 11.97 seconds in the 100 meters.[4] He got a top-throw of 41.05 meters in the discus at the 2008 OHSAA District T&F Championships. He was the runner-up to the state title in the shot put event at the 2009 OHSAA District T&F Championships, recording a career-best throw of 18.62 metres (61.1 ft).

Recruiting[edit | edit source]

Regarded as a three-star recruit by, he was ranked the No. 55 linebacker nationally. He chose Wisconsin over scholarship offers from Iowa and Louisville.

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Chris Borland
Kettering, OH Archbishop Alter HS 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 4.65 Jun 24, 2008 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   ESPN grade: 74
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 55 (MLB)   Rivals: NR  ESPN: 134 (ATH)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career[edit | edit source]

File:Chris Borland tackles Taylor Martinez.jpg

Borland tackles Taylor Martinez during the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game

2009[edit | edit source]

Borland played in 13 games, starting six. He led the team with five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He finished third on the team in tackles-for-loss (10.5) and sacks (5.0) and fifth in tackles (54). Borland also returned six kickoffs for 106 yards and made three extra points in the game against Hawaii. Borland was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year in 2009. He was also named to the FWAA Freshman All-American team.[5]

2010[edit | edit source]

Borland played and started two games. He was injured in the second game of the season and missed the rest of the year with a shoulder injury. He was granted an injury redshirt for that season.

2011[edit | edit source]

Before the season, Borland was on the watchlist for the Butkus Award which is awarded to the nations best linebacker. He was also listed on the preseason watchlists for All-Big Ten, first-team by Phil Steele and second-team by Athlon.

On December 8, 2011, Borland was named Third Team All-American by Yahoo Sports. His teammate Russell Wilson joined him on the Third Team while Montee Ball was named to the First Team and offensive linemen Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler were named to the Second Team.[6]

2012[edit | edit source]

File:UTEP QB throws under pressure from Chris Borland2.jpg

UTEP QB Nick Lamaison throws an incomplete pass under pressure from Borland

Borland set a season high with 13 tackles in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game against Nebraska. He recorded a team-high 9 tackles in the 2013 Rose Bowl against Stanford. Following the season, Borland was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention by the media.

2013[edit | edit source]

Borland was named to the preseason watchlists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Dick Butkus Award, Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. Halfway through the 2013 season ESPN ranked Chris Borland the #4 Defensive MVP.[7]

On November 23, Borland tied the FBS career forced fumble record, with his 14th, against Minnesota. Also in late November, he was named one of four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.[8] Other finalists include Anthony Barr (UCLA linebacker), Devon Kennard (USC defensive end) and James Morris (Iowa linebacker).[8]

On December 3, 2013, Borland was named Big Ten Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year[9] Borland is the fifth Wisconsin player to be named Defensive Player of the Year, joining Troy Vincent (1991), Tom Burke (1998), Jamar Fletcher (2000) and Erasmus James (2004). Borland was also named the Big Ten's Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.

On December 18, 2013, Borland was named to the first-team All-America Team by FWAA. He also earned second-team All-America honors by the AP, Athlon, CBS Sports, and Sports Illustrated.[10]

College statistics[edit | edit source]

Year Team Solo Ast Total TFL Sack INT PD FF FR
2009 Wisconsin 36 18 54 10.5 5.0 1 3 5 3
2010 Wisconsin 5 2 7 2.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
2011 Wisconsin 64 79 143 19.0 2.5 2 7 5 0
2012 Wisconsin 56 48 104 10.0 4.5 1 6 3 3
2013 Wisconsin 72 39 111 8.5 4.0 1 2 1 2
College Totals 233 187 420 50.0 17.0 5 18 14 8


Professional career[edit | edit source]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
5 ft 11.75 in 248 lb 4.83 s 1.65 s 2.70 s 4.26 s 6.83 s 37 in 9 ft 11 in 29 rep 36

San Francisco 49ers[edit | edit source]

Borland was selected with the 13th pick of the 3rd round (77th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.[13][14][15] Throughout training camp and preseason, he competed against 49ers veteran Michael Wilhoite for a starting inside linebacker position left absent by the injured NaVorro Bowman.[16]

In the last preseason game against the Houston Texans, Borland led the defense in tackles (6) and returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown.[17]

Borland got his first career start in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos after the 49ers All-Pro ILB Patrick Willis injured his toe against the St. Louis Rams during week six.[18] He led the 49ers defense with eight tackles, one tackle for loss and he recorded his first career sack against Peyton Manning; ultimately the 49ers were defeated 42–17.[19] In his second start filling in for Willis, he recorded 18 tackles, 15 solo and three tackles for loss against the St. Louis Rams. His 18 tackles were the most tackles for a single player league-wide and included a "suplex-like" tackle of running back Tre Mason.[20][21]

In a week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Borland recovered an overtime fumble that led the 49ers to a 27–24 victory. During the game,he recorded 17 tackles and he received his first ever NFL award, which was Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.[22] In week 11 he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Eli Manning-led New York Giants where he was the first rookie linebacker in franchise history to get two interceptions in one game. He also led the team in tackles with 13 and had three passes defended.[23] Borland was selected as the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for November.[24] On December 20, 2014, Borland was placed on season ending IR with an ankle injury.[25] He finished his rookie season with 108 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions in only starting 8 games.[26]

On March 16, 2015, Borland announced his retirement from the NFL citing concern of head trauma.[27] He received a $617,436 signing bonus when he inked a four-year rookie deal with the 49ers coming out of college but would be returning approximately three-quarters of this bonus to the team, or about $463,077.[28]

Professional statistics[edit | edit source]

Tackles Interceptions Fumbles Other
Year Team G GS Comb Solo Assist Sack Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR Pass Def Safety
2014 San Francisco 49ers 14 8 107 84 23 1.0 2 12 6.0 12 0 0 1 5


Awards and achievements[edit | edit source]

NFL[edit | edit source]

  • Defensive Rookie of the Month (November 2014)
  • NFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 11, 2014)
  • Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (Weeks 10 & 11, 2014)

College[edit | edit source]

Life after football[edit | edit source]

File:Borland attended the premier of GridIron Gladiators directed by Todd Trigsted.JPG

Borland attended the premier of GridIron Gladiators directed by Todd Trigsted

Borland attended the premier of GridIron Gladiators movie directed by Todd Trigsted April 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon [30] Borland has been outspoken about his decision to retire. He has received both praise and criticism for his assertions in many interviews, including one with CBS News in which he stated that he believes football as a whole to be "inherently dangerous".[31]

In a December 2015 Frontline interview, Borland said, "Last year the NFL commissioned actuaries to estimate how many NFL veterans would have brain damage. And the number they came up with was 3 out of 10. So, if I turn on a game, and a third of the guys will have brain damage in life, I just, I can't really support that. And, I don't really watch football anymore. If it's on, I may peek at it, but ..." He shook his head as the video faded.[2][32]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Chris Borland".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "How Afraid Should the NFL be of Chris Borland?". December 21, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  3. "Chris Borland Bio – – The Official Athletic Site of the Wisconsin Badgers". Archived from the original on October 24, 2014.
  4. "Fairmont Firebird Invitational". Ohio MileSplit.
  5. "T.J. Edwards named Freshman All-American".
  6. "Yahoo Sports All-America Team". Yahoo Sports.;_ylt=AIYH1rfGIXPyF3vzSU_5k1McvrYF?slug=ys-college_football_all_america_team_120811.
  7. "On The Mark: Midseason review – ESPN". October 14, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Borland a finalist for Lott IMPACT Trophy – – The Official Athletic Site of the Wisconsin Badgers". November 26, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  9. "Borland named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year".
  10. "Borland named First-Team All-American". Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  11. "Chris Borland | Wisconsin, ILB : 2014 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". September 21, 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  12. "2014 NFL Combine Wonderlic Scores".
  13. "49ers add linebacker depth, draft Borland – Yahoo Sports". May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  14. "NFL Draft 2014: Chris Borland joins San Francisco 49ers, handful of Wisconsin linebackers in NFL – Bucky's 5th Quarter". Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  15. NFL (May 9, 2014). "49ers add linebacker depth, draft Borland - NFL -". Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  16. "San Francisco 49ers News — Niner Insider Blog » Fangio not ready to call Wilhoite vs. Borland". San Francisco 49ers News — Niner Insider Blog.
  17. "Rookie LB Chris Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans 40–13". Fox News.
  18. "San Francisco rookie LB Chris Borland steps in for Patrick Willis against Broncos". Fox News.
  19. "49ers notebook: Aldon Smith's suspension might be reduced, report says".
  20. Peter Panacy. "Rookie Linebacker Chris Borland Making Strides in 49ers Defense". Bleacher Report.
  21. "San Francisco 49ers’ Chris Borland Body Slams Tre Mason".
  22. "Chris Borland named NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week". Niners Nation. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  24. "Chris Borland Named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  25. "Chris Borland placed on San Francisco 49ers' I.R.". NFL.
  26. "Chris Borland". NFL. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  27. Hanzus, Dan (March 16, 2015). "San Francisco 49ers' Chris Borland retiring from NFL". Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  28. "Chris Borland says he's returning most of signing bonus to 49ers".
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Borland, Whitehouse receive Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award – – The Official Athletic Site of the Wisconsin Badgers".
  30. "Special Event – April 19, 2015".
  31. Strachan, Maxwell (March 19, 2015). "NFL Rookie Chris Borland Explains His Decision To Retire: ‘The Game Is Inherently Dangerous'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  32. Amid 'Concussion' coverage, Frontline documents Chris Borland's departure from football La Crosse Tribune, Todd Milewski (The Capital Times), December 27, 2015.

External links[edit | edit source]


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