The San Francisco 49ers have had a tumultuous start to the offseason after losing Frank Gore to the Philadelphia Eagles, and it was made even worse today when reports surfaced that star linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith are planning to retire.
The news of Willis retiring came as a shock. He's still in the prime of his career at 30 years old, and made the Pro Bowl in his first seven years in the NFL. Willis only played in six games last year after opting to have surgery to fix a toe injury that had bothered him for a few years, but that's not the reason he's retiring.
He plans to officially announce the decision tomorrow.
Joining him is Justin Smith, a 14-year veteran who has been a staple of the San Francisco defensive line since signing as a free agent in 2008. His decision was somewhat expected as he has been contemplating the decision for a few years.
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