by Russell Preston, KHTK Sacramento
There was apparently a report by NFL insider Jason Cole of Bleacher Report that a source close to the situation said former San Francisco 49ers star linebacker Patrick Willis was considering a comeback to the NFL for the 2016 season. Willis retired following last year’s injury-plagued season at the age of 30.READ MORE: Sacramento Highway 99 Closure Now In Place: How To Get Around It
As of Thursday morning, Willis debunked all rumors of a return on his WhoSay page:
I MADE MY DECISION BACK IN APRIL AND I HAVEN’T THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT IT; NOR PLAYING ANOTHER DOWN IN THE NFL…PERIOD…SO QUIT TRYING TO BRING LIFE; on a CHAPTER that I have already CLOSED IN MY HEART and MIND…MY FOCUS IS IN THE PERFCT PLACE RIGHT NOW AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS TO ME…My PURPOSE 4 Life IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN FOOTBALL; FOR I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME I WAS BLESSED TO PLAY ….IN THE GREAT WORDS OF 2-PAC #LIFEGOESON
That sounds pretty definitive to me.READ MORE: West Oakland Home Converted To Mini Museum About Black Panthers; Will Open Juenteenth
Willis was a 7-time Pro Bowler during his eight-year career, clearly the best linebacker in the league during his time in the NFL – if not second best. Despite his dominating career and relatively young age for retirement, Willis knew he wasn’t the player he used to be in a physical sense.
Willis sat out 10 games in 2014 with a bad toe and apparently has not returned to a football field since.
His career 732 tackles in 112 games is the most in a 49ers uniform, just ahead of Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott. Willis also owns the franchise record for forced fumbles with 16 and is third in passes defended with 55 (just three behind leader Shawntae Spencer).MORE NEWS: Man, 25, Killed In Overnight Shooting In Lodi
I highly doubt Willis will return next season, but who knows? He has plenty of time to change his mind and there is no denying the 49ers would welcome him back with open arms. However, in the meantime, we should put these rumors to rest.