The San Francisco 49ers are prepping for the loss of seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, whom they expect to retire, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports.
Willis, 30, missed the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career in 2014 after playing only six games and suffering a toe injury that required season-ending surgery. In 2013, he started 14 games but suffered a fractured hand that required surgery and a groin injury that cost him two games.
After he was selected with the No. 11 overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, Willis was instantly a starter for the 49ers and was named a first-team All-Pro as a rookie. He earned All-Pro honors in five of his first six NFL seasons and signed a five-year, $50 million extension in 2010 that runs through the 2016 NFL season.
Willis has played in 112 career games with the 49ers, with 950 tackles, 20.5 sacks, eight interceptions and 16 forced fumbles.
With Willis on injured reserve in 2014, the 49ers relied on 2014 third-round pick Chris Borland to fill in as a starter at inside linebacker. In just eight starts, Borland finished as the leading tackler for the 49ers with 107 tackles, two interceptions and a sack.
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