Patrick Willis, Justin Smith retiring from 49ers

In a shocking development, the San Francisco 49ers are about to lose two of their defensive cornerstones.

Per reports, both inside linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith are set to announce their retirements from the NFL.

While Smith had been contemplating calling it a career, Willis’ decision comes out of left field.

The 11th pick in the 2007 draft, Willis is one of only seven players since 1970 to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons. He has also been chosen to the All-Pro team six times and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007. 

Smith came over to the 49ers as a free agent in 2008. He enjoyed the best years of his career in San Francisco, making five Pro Bowls. He was also named to the All-Pro team at two different positions in 2011, defensive end and defensive tackle.

Chris Borland is expected to start in place of Willis, while the 49ers added veteran Darnell Dockett to their defensive line to help brace for the loss of Smith.

Photo: Jason O. Watson: US PRESSWIRE


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Al Sacco

Al Sacco is sports expert who knows football, baseball, basketball and hockey. He has spent his time as a sports journalist covering the San Francisco 49ers as a contributor to 49erswebzone.com and Ninerfans.com. He's been a guest on numerous podcasts and has had his work used on ESPN NFL Insiders and USA TODAY.


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