The Economics of Early Retirement from Football Comments Off
49ers linebacker Chris Borland recently sparked controversy when he retired after a successful rookie year. Stating health reasons, specifically long-term damage from repeated head injuries, Borland expressed concerns of residual neurological conditions and shortened life span. Two weeks after Borland announced his retirement, University of Michigan offensive lineman Jack Miller followed suit — college football is facing just as much scrutiny over concussion-related injuries as the NFL. Last year, Miller’s coach was criticized for allowing quarterback Shane Morris to play even after an apparent concussion.
Will early retirement from professional and college football be more common in the upcoming years? Borland made $574,359 in his only year in the NFL, on top of a $617,436 signing bonus (three-quarters of which he will return). Although he surrenders nearly $3 million over the three remaining years of his rookie contract, he enters the next phase of his career with financial security if he plays his cards right. Miller, an NFL prospect with a potentially big salary, will not earn a dime playing football. How agonizing this decision must have been for him. He, like Borland, could have put in a year or two of pro football and retired early with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank. In the end, the debilitating effects of past and likely future concussions proved greater than the reward of a large paycheck. Read the rest of this entry →