49ers Patrick Willis retiring after injury-shortened season

Mar 11, 2015 1:22 PM by Ross Field

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The 49ers say Seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis will retire after his 2014 season was cut short by a toe injury that required surgery.

Willis and friend NaVorro Bowman had made up one of the best 1-2 linebacker punches in the NFL until both missed time last year, the entire season for Bowman as he recovered from reconstructive knee surgery.

The 30-year-old Willis was sidelined with a strained muscle in his left big toe. He was placed on the season-ending injured reserve Nov. 11 after getting hurt in the third quarter at St. Louis on Oct. 13.

The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007 after being drafted 11th overall out of Mississippi, Willis started 112 games and had 950 tackles with 20.5 sacks in eight seasons.

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