Patrick Willis and Justin Smith are Retiring

For almost a decade, Justin Smith and Patrick Willis were the heart and soul of the San Francisco defense. Today, ESPN and others are reporting  that both players will announce their retirements tomorrow.

Many expected the 14 year veteran Smith to retire after this season. He made 5 Pro Bowls in his seven years with the Niners. But Willis' announcement comes as a much greater shock. Willis made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons, but missed the final 10 games last year with a chronic toe injury. He was expected to continue playing for years, but the continued nagging toe pain forced his early retirement. Willis was dubbed the new Ray Lewis by many, but he will retire without a Super Bowl ring.

Both players are expected to make the Hall of Fame, and one can only hope they are voted in on the same day.

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