It didn’t take long for Patrick Willis to make himself a household name. From the moment he stepped on the field in 2007, Willis was laying some of the filthiest hits one would ever see. The production was enough to get him nominated to the Pro Bowl his first seven seasons.
Then, in 2015, eight years later, he retired and disappeared.
Well, he’s back now on Matt Maiocco’s 49ers Insider Podcast. Obviously retirement would be a question and Maiocco wasted no time getting his thoughts on being out of the league and if he regretted retiring:
“Many people always tell me, “Man you retired too early, you still had so much left in the tank.” And I usually ask myself, “Well if I retired too early, then what is it too late?” I felt like it was a perfect time. The stars aligned with me. Again, I never set out to play this game for anyone else’s expectations of what they think I should do, it was something I believed in myself before anyone else saw it. I never put that in anyone else’s hands. For me it was the right time.”
As you might guess, Willis has a lot of details about that 2015 event as well as the current state of the 49ers. I’ve time-coded the entire interview below. You can listen to the podcast via the widget above. If you don’t see it, click here.
00:57 - Getting out of the NFL early and not missing it
01:57 - Thoughts on coming back
02:50 - How he feels physically
03:45 - What he looks back on with his 49ers career
04:50 - Thinking about the hall of fame
07:12 - On how/when he lost his passion for the game in 2015
09:00 - His relationship with NaVorro Bowman
10:27 - Surprised on how Bowman’s time with the 49ers ended
12:17 - His relationship with Maiocco
15:07 - His foray into coaching and CoachTube
17:45 - Thoughts on Mike Singletary and surprise if he’s not more prominent in the league
19:50 - Door open to being a position coach/assistant coach
21:36 - Residing in the South Bay
22:44 - Thoughts on Fred Warner/Reuben Foster
25:31 - What he’s been up to since leaving football