The big news that Jason Cole of Bleacher Report is claiming is that reinforcements are coming next year. Jason Cole says that sources have indicated that Patrick Willis is considering a comeback. Jennifer Lee Chan says there have been talks, but nothing more than talks and his return is doubtful.
If he does return, what does it mean for the 49ers and 49ers fans?
Instant upgrade over Wilhoite?
That is debatable since we don’t know what kind of Patrick Willis we will be getting. One thing is for sure, we will be getting a healthier Patrick Willis who may have had his toe issues resolved. We have not seen a below-league average Patrick Willis. Even if the physicality isn’t what it used to be (worst case scenario), instinct doesn’t get lost and Patrick Willis will still be able to establish himself as a playmaker.
Ring Rust or Second Wind?
It’s curious to wonder what a year off from football does to the body. Does it make it harder to comeback to playing speed or does it work better for the healing process and will we be getting a Patrick Willis that has touched the fountain of youth. He’s only 31 years old and we’ve seen linebackers have success past that age.
Worst case scenario if he should return
Worst case scenario is that he comes back and he starts. Wow, bold statement to say even at Patrick’s worst, he will still start. He may not be the tackling dynamo he once was and he will likely still get outplayed by Navarro Bowman. However, Patrick should be good for a handful of tackles including tackles that allow only 3 yards or less. His instinct will be in tact.
Best Case scenario if he should return
He keeps pace with Bowman and the Niners renew their status as the top linebacker corps in the league. Even better, Bowman will get a boost having his bash brother back.
No matter what kind of comeback we get.
This will be great news for 49ers fans as they get to see two things unfold. They will get to resurrect a jersey from the graveyard and wear them with pride once more. More importantly, if Patrick Willis returns, we will get to see him continue a career that was all but sure to end in Canton before his sudden retirement. When Patrick returns and if he could play for four more years, we should be able to see him reach the promised land.
950 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 8 interceptions, and 18 forced fumbles.
Compared to 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, Derrick Brooks, Patrick has 347 fewer tackles, 6 fewer forced fumbles, 17 fewer interceptions, but 7 more sacks.
If Patrick were to continue his 2014 pace before injury into 2016, he would have added 90 tackles, 2 interceptions and would have his lowest tackle totals of his career. He certainly needs at least 4 more seasons to reach big hall of fame numbers. If he returns healthy, he will have a chance if he could make it to 36 years old.
We hope for the return of Patrick Willis so we could add another 49er to Canton and hopefully a revival that sparks the catalyst for the quest for six.