Anthony Davis of San Francisco 49ers retires

Yet another key starter for the San Francisco 49ers is walking away from the game.

Right tackle Anthony Davis surprisingly announced Friday that he won't play football in 2015.

A statement released by Davis reads as follows:

"After a few years of thought, I've decided it will be best for me to take a year or so away from the NFL. This will be a time for me to allow my Brain and Body a chance to heal. I know many won't understand my decision, that's ok.

"I hope you too have the courage to live your life how you planned it when day dreaming to yourself growing up. Your Life is Your dream and you have the power to control that dream. I'm simply doing what's best for my body as well as my mental health at this time in my life."

Although the wording suggests a sabbatical, a statement released by the 49ers reads that Davis has "informed the team he plans to retire" from the NFL. Davis missed four games last season following a concussion.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports Davis will pay back $4.66 million in salary bonus money due to his decision to retire, according to a source informed of his plans.

Davis, 25 years old, has started 71 games in five NFL seasons. With Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati defecting to the Cardinals, the 49ers have lost both of their first-round picks from the 2010 NFL Draft.

Left tackle Joe Staley and disgruntled right guardAlex Boone are the only remaining starters from an offensive line that dominated the league as recently as 2013. That is a major liability against the dominant front sevens of the NFC West.

"We've got several options," coach Jim Tomsula said about replacing Davis at right tackle. "We drafted a guy and we have three guys that have experience playing the right tackle position that we feel really good about.

"Alex (Boone) has always been a possibility at either tackle. (Erik) Pears has obviously played more tackle, right tackle, in this league than he's played guard so we feel really good there."

The depleted unit up-front is far from the only concern in San Francisco.

Since the new league year started in March, the 49ers have lost Davis, rookie sensation Chris Borland and potential Hall of Famers Patrick Willis and Justin Smith to retirement.

The defections don't end there.

The 49ers also watched 2014 starters Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Ray McDonald, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox sign with other teams.

If you're keeping score at home, the players leaving the organization in the transition from the highly successful Jim Harbaugh era are responsible for 20 combined Pro Bowl appearances and more than 1,000 career NFL starts.

Tomsula might have expected to lead a rebuilding effort, but he couldn't have realized the extent of the excavation back in January.

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