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Chris Borland knows firsthand all about the challenges of early retirement Mike Condon Jersey , having stepped away from a promising football career after one year because of concerns over head injuries.

Instead of playing in front of boisterous crowds on the big NFL stage, Borland spends his time now helping other football players and military veterans make that adjustment to their new lives that often lack the thrill and competitiveness of life in the armed forces or professional sports.

"One healthy thing I'd like for players to know, whether they're active or former, is you likely can't replicate the thrill of playing before 100,000 people and big hits and making that much money," Borland said. "We can get ourselves into trouble trying to. Coming to terms with transitioning is one of the harder lessons I've had to learn the last couple of years, is that life is a little more methodical than in sports. The peaks aren't as high and the valleys aren't as low.

"That's an adjustment we have to make."

Borland, whose brothers Joe and John serve in the Army, sees similar retirement challenges for veterans, who like football players often have to deal with physical injuries and mental problems that are far less obvious as they go into society.

"It would be ill-advised to compare war and a sport, but I don't think the brain knows the difference," Borland said. "With post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries in blasts with veterans, we see a very similar and somewhat unique issue with repetitive brain injuries in football. There are very similar physical struggles, but also two populations that have a hard time transitioning out whether it is the military or football and reintegrating into society."

Borland has tried to bridge those two populations with his work with the After the Impact Fund , which facilitates custom treatment plans for veterans and athletes with traumatic brain injuries.

He is raising money and awareness for the issue this week by taking part in "Pat's Run" on Saturday in Tempe, Arizona, alongside his brothers Joe and John. The run is named after Pat Tillman, who gave up his own promising NFL career to join the Army in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and died while serving in Afghanistan in 2004.

"A lot of what you do as a teammate is you sacrifice for others and support others Jakub Voracek Jersey Kids ," John Borland said. "There are people we've all been teammates with, for us it's soldiers. For Chris, it's ex-football players. You don't just forget your teammates as soon as the game is over. They're still your teammates. There are people who still need support, who worked hard and are with you. These are guys you shared blood with."

John Borland is a major in the U.S. Army, an instructor at West Point and also served in Iraq. Joe Borland is a captain in the US Army JAG Corps who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, returning just last month from his latest tour.

They see plenty in common with what their friends in the military deal with after leaving the service and what ex-athletes go through as well.

"The similarities and the overlap is they both are young when they start off and young when they're done as well for the most part," Joe Borland said. "They potentially would have suffered similar injuries but in a different way. The impacts in the NFL and the impacts we might have with an explosion or trauma in the military can be similar."

Those brain injuries are why the 27-year-old Borland retired from football three years ago in a decision that shocked many outsiders, but was one his brothers knew came from careful consideration.

Borland was a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft by San Francisco after a stellar college career at Wisconsin, where he was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-American in 2013.

Borland led the 49ers in tackles as a rookie and was named to the all-rookie team and was a Pro Bowl alternate before stepping away for a post-playing career that includes a company he started, T Mindful, to help bring meditation into sports.

"About 10 percent of the time, I miss 3 to 5 percent of the game," Borland said. "I look back and I'm happy that I played. I'm not wistful. You miss big games. I miss the locker room camaraderie. Sometimes I miss the lifestyle. It's great to get around old players because in a society where people like to dance around topics, it's good to be around like-minded people who cut the BS and are able to rib one another. I enjoyed that. But I don't long for it or reminisce daily. A piece of my heart will always be in football, but my mind ended it."

Borland, who started playing tackle football in ninth grade, finds it preposterous that children are still playing the sport with fewer rules protecting them than the adults in the pros.

Even the rules in the NFL like limits on contact in practice and a recent rule change to outlaw leading with the helmet are only small steps.

"Those are all incremental improvements," Borland said. "A lot of it is PR. When they do those things Philipp Grubauer Jersey , they're able to say the game is safer than ever. Safer than ever is a euphemism for dangerous and football is inherently dangerous. The way it's played, if it's going to retain what it is as a game, it will always be dangerous. What's not being done that could be are measures outside the lines like waiting until high school to play and having high schools and colleges adopt the same contact rules as the NFL."

Cast aside once in Philadelphia, Nick Foles delivered the city its first Super Bowl title.

He outdueled the great Tom Brady to do it.

”Being a part of this and being drafted to Philadelphia, and being fortunate enough to come back and be a part of this team, to be a piece of this puzzle, I mean, it’s been a long time coming and I know there’s going to be a lot of celebrating tonight,” Foles said.

Foles, who took over when Carson Wentz injured his right knee in mid-December, matched Brady, the five-time champion and three-time MVP, big play for big play Sunday in leading the Eagles past the New England Patriots 41-33 .

After an unusually slow start, Brady led the favored Patriots to scores on five of six possessions, and Foles kept right on coming, executing coach Doug Pederson’s aggressive calls.

”I wasn’t worrying about the scoreboard, I wasn’t worrying about the time, I was just playing ball Vladislav Namestnikov Jersey ,” Foles said. ”I think sometimes you start worrying about that too much, it starts creeping in your brain. I was just playing, whatever play Doug called, I was just going to go out there and rip it.”

After watching Brady put the Patriots ahead 33-32 with 9:22 left, Foles drove the Eagles 75 yards in 14 plays, hitting tight end Zach Ertz from 11 yards on third-and-7 for the go-ahead TD with 2:21 left.

That drive lasted a tick more than seven minutes and kept Brady cooling his cleats on the sideline while allowing the Eagles’ exhausted defenders to catch their collective breath in a game that featured 1,151 total yards, the most in any NFL game in the Super Bowl era.

That meant the world when Brady got the ball back and Brandon Graham swept in and jarred the ball loose for the game’s lone sack. Derek Barnett smothered it at the 31 with just over two minutes remaining, and Jake Elliott’s 46-yard field goal, the longest in a Super Bowl by a rookie, made it an eight-point cushion.

It also gave Brady just a minute to work his magic.

He started at his 9 with 58 seconds remaining and drove the Patriots to midfield before time ran out on New England as a desperation pass fell in the end zone.

Foles searched out Brady, but never did find him in all the chaos and confetti.

”I didn’t get to see Tom. I was looking for Tom. It got pretty crazy really fast,” Foles said. ”I mean, he’s one of the greatest of all time. He’s been unbelievable. He was unbelievable tonight. I can’t say enough about him.”

Brady threw for more yards – a playoff career-high 505 to Foles’ 373 – but Foles matched Brady’s three touchdown tosses and even caught another .

He hauled in tight end Trey Burton’s toss from the 1 that gave Philadelphia a 22-12 halftime edge and made him the first player in Super Bowl history to be on both ends of a touchdown pass in the same game.

Brady nearly beat him to it.

Although wide open, the ambling Brady couldn’t quite haul in receiver Danny Amendola’s high pass for what would have been a nifty over-the-shoulder reception which might have gone all 35 yards for the score.

That brought to mind Gisele Bundchen’s famous dig after one of Brady’s two losses to Eli Manning and the Giants in the Super Bowl, when his supermodel wife responded to hecklers by complaining about the Patriots’ many dropped passes that day.

”You’ve to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she fumed. ”My husband cannot … throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”

Nor could he haul in Amendola’s throw early in the second quarter with New England trailing 9-3.

Foles had never caught a pass in the NFL before his TD grab.

His only interception was a fluke, but it did help Brady and the Patriots staunch an early stumble to stay in it until the very end.

Foles was 28 of 43 and wasn’t sacked. Brady was 28 of 48 Tanner Pearson Jersey , and while he didn’t throw any interceptions, his only sack was a doozy.

A third-round pick by former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2012, Foles had tremendous success as a starter under Chip Kelly his sophomore season. He threw 29 TDs and two picks in 11 starts, including playoffs in 2013. Foles posted a passer rating of 119.2, third-highest in league history. He tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013 and won an offensive MVP award at a Pro Bowl.

But Foles was traded to St. Louis for Sam Bradford in March 2015. He lost his starting job to Case Keenum and asked for his release after Jared Goff was drafted No. 1 overall when the Rams relocated to Los Angeles. Foles even considered hanging up his cleats before Reid persuaded him to go to Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s backup.

”As people we deal with struggles and that was a moment in my life where I thought about it, I prayed about it,” Foles said of quitting. ”And I’m grateful that I made a decision to come back and play.”

So is Philadelphia, where Foles returned after one season with the Chiefs, signing a two-year, $12 million deal to provide insurance behind Wentz.

Now he’s a folk hero for a franchise that had gone 0 for 2 in Super Bowls, and for a legion of fans who were rooting for anybody other than the Patriots.

”Just to be in this moment,” Foles said, shaking his head. ”Unbelievable.”



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