12:35pm: Willis took to social media to shoot down talk of a possible comeback (via Maiocco):
“I MADE MY DECISION BACK IN APRIL. AND I HAVEN’T THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT . . . PLAYING ANOTHER DOWN IN THE NFL…PERIOD‼‼‼
SO QUIT TRYING TO BRING LIFE; on a CHAPTER that I have already CLOSED IN MY HEART and MIND.”
12:03pm: 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, who retired prior to the 2015 season, is considering a comeback, a source close to the player tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Cole also hears that tackle Anthony Davis, who has hinted at a return on social media, is planning on coming back in 2016. However, a source close to Willis told Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com on Thursday, “I have not heard anything to that effect from Patrick.” The 49ers appear to know nothing about Willis pondering a comeback either.
Prior to a 2014 season cut short by injury, Willis had earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in each of his even seasons, and only turned 30 years old in January. However, when he landed on the injured reserve list back in November, Willis revealed that the toe on which he was undergoing surgery had been a chronic issue, limiting his effectiveness for years.
“I don’t look to play this game for just another year,” Willis told Maiocco at the time. “I feel like I have five or six more great years of football left in my body. Unfortunately, this toe was telling me otherwise.”
We’ll have to wait and see whether Willis is actually thinking about a comeback, but the linebacker has been adamant in the past that he won’t be returning to the gridiron. In March, he told ex-teammate Takeo Spikes that he wasn’t having any second thoughts about his decision.
As for Davis, word of his potential return is less surprising given his comments on Twitter throughout the season. Team sources told Maiocco that Davis would have to “mend fences” within the organization in order to come back, but that won’t be much of a hurdle if he can help the team. The 49ers hold his rights for the next five seasons due to the contract extension the 26-year-old right tackle signed in 2013.