SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Steve Young still believes he can play. That's just not enough to keep his brilliant career going.
Young, sidelined since September by a devastating hit that caused his fourth concussion in three years, is walking away from the game reluctantly.
The two-time league MVP, who led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl title in 1995, will announce his retirement at a news conference Monday.
Two team sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 38-year-old Young spent months agonizing over what to do before finally calling it quits.
''He's made up his mind,'' one source said Thursday.
''The day has been set,'' the other club source said. ''The only issue is the setting.''
Young, who succeeded Hall of Famer Joe Montana and went on to carve out his own championship legacy, leaves the game as the highest-rated passer in the NFL's 80-year history.
He also was a dazzling, powerful runner, rushing for an NFL record 43 touchdowns, including a tackle-busting 49-yard run against Minnesota in 1988 that endures as a testament to his rough-and-tumble style.
General manager Bill Walsh is aware of Young's decision and confirmed he would make an announcement Monday. Walsh would say only that all signs point to Young retiring.
''I think we all have a sense of what's occurring,'' Walsh said before leaving team headquarters Thursday evening for a weekend getaway. ''But it's for Steve Young now to do the personal statements and relate his feelings to you.''
Walsh added that the 49ers will go ahead and pay Young a $1 million roster bonus that was due on Saturday.
''That is a reflection of our appreciation for Steve and what he's contributed to the 49ers,'' Walsh said. ''We would love to have Steve Young with us for the next 20 years, but I think he's got bigger and better things to do. He might have my job, I don't know. But I think we're agreed, if he were to retire, he can look forward to a very successful life, whatever his endeavor, from politics to broadcasting to sports to business.''
Young was not available for comment Thursday.
The sources said Young wanted to wait until Monday to make his retirement announcement to give his family, college coach and other key figures in his life a chance to be on hand.
His retirement is now expected to generate up to $2 million in payroll relief for the 49ers, who have struggled throughout the offseason with salary cap problems.
While no formal announcement was made, players leaving the team's minicamp took word of Young's decision in stride. Former Canadian Football League star Jeff Garcia will move into the job held by Young and Montana for the last 19 years.
''I've been preparing myself for that situation all offseason, so I'm ready for it,'' said Garcia, adding he won't be fazed by following in the footsteps of Young's Hall of Fame-caliber career.
''I've been in a situation (in Calgary) where I've been behind a legend before, maybe in a different league, but Doug Flutie was one of the best to ever play in the CFL, and I was kind of looming behind him for a couple of seasons before I got my break up there,'' Garcia said. ''Maybe it wasn't on the scale that the NFL is, but I've been introduced to it somewhat and I think I can handle those sorts of things.''
Coach Steve Mariucci said the thought of replacing Young was daunting.
''When you lose a great player, you have to replace his production on the field, which is nearly impossible -- he's the most efficient quarterback of all time and nobody is really even close,'' Mariucci said. ''He's difficult to replace from a leadership standpoint, from an image standpoint, from the standpoint of a certain team swagger and confidence level.''
Young has been struggling to choose among three options: play for the 49ers, join another NFL team or retire. He hasn't played since a head blow Sept. 27 at Arizona left him with his latest concussion.
Young's agent, Leigh Steinberg, did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.
Young, whose wife, Barbara, is expecting the couple's first child in December, has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacancy in the ''Monday Night Football'' booth. ABC is expected to announce a choice later this month.
It appeared Monday that Young's options had been reduced to retirement or playing elsewhere after Walsh all but ruled out his return to the 49ers.
But Walsh backed off the remarks the next day. He said the return of the two-time league MVP was possible if he gained medical clearance from a series of doctors.
Young met with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan in Denver on Monday, but he said there were no negotiations or contract talks. He said he was visiting Shanahan, who is a close friend, simply to get advice.
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