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Coughlin: Borland's early retirement could have draft repercussions

Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates

Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a tackle against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 16, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

PHOENIX -- When Chris Borland retired earlier this month after just one year in the NFL citing concerns about his future health, it caught the attention of just about everyone in the league.

In fact, it may change how teams assess their draft picks moving forward.

Picking a player in a high round of the draft only to have him walk away from the game after a year or two could have a devastating effect on a franchise. Tom Coughlin said he thinks teams will now try to ask questions that gauge the commitment of incoming players to make sure they don't retire prematurely as Borland did.

"You'd better ask that of your one," Coughlin said of the first-round picks. "Does that become one of the questions? Provided we can ask it. We have to be careful with the CBA, we can't ask too many things. But that may be something that has to be considered."

The Giants know how detrimental losing a young player can be. That happened to Chad Jones, a safety they had big plans for. He was in a car accident and never even made it to training camp after being selected in the third round of the 2010 draft (Borland was a third-round pick of the 49ers). It also happened to running back/kick returner David Wilson, the 2012 first-rounder who played 11/2 seasons before a neck injury ended his playing days.

Those were medical issues, though. Borland's decision was based not on injuries but on avoiding them. And unlike Borland, Wilson wanted desperately to play even as doctors told him he could be risking serious and irreversible damage. Others have too.

"Usually young guys don't even think about that stuff," Coughlin said of Borland's concerns. "The attitude they take is the other way. That's just the way, the nature of young men. I don't care how big they are. Everybody goes through that segment of life where you never consider anything like that."

And yet Borland did.

"I was really surprised by that," Coughlin said. "I thought he was a young man who as a rookie had an outstanding year."

For Borland, that was enough. Which is fine. But teams will likely want to know where a player stands on the topic before investing a draft pick in him from now on.

New York Sports