49ers: A brief token of appreciation to Niners legend Joe Staley

49ers, Joe Staley (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers, Joe Staley (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The longest-serving member of the San Francisco 49ers has announced his retirement. Joe Staley wrapped up his career in red and gold on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Almost 13 years to the day, the San Francisco 49ers had two picks in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. With their first selection, they took a linebacker from Mississippi in Patrick Willis. 17 picks later they chose an offensive tackle from Central Michigan — Joe Staley.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of loyal is “unswerving in allegiance.” For over a decade Staley was unwavering in allegiance to the 49ers.

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The organization was far from perfect, but Staley stuck around. The 49ers had six coaches over the course of his career. He never had a coach last more than four seasons. Staley didn’t budge.

He also protected his fair share of quarterbacks. From Alex Smith to Shaun Hill, Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Nick Mullens, and now Jimmy Garoppolo, just to name a few.

From 2012 to the end of 2019, Staley was on the field for 7,223 snaps. In 2014 and 2015, he never missed an offensive play. 2,066 snaps in those years.

Staley has seen it all. He’s also been apart of two Super Bowl runs (2012 and 2019), along with two conference championship losses.

After the Super Bowl and leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, questions and rumors were swirling about Staley’s future. He had unfinished business with this team, who’s poised to take another run at the Vince Lombardi trophy.

But he didn’t play much due to injury. It also seemed like the organization was starting to look into the future when they took offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But all theories and stories were put to bed when the 49ers traded a couple of draft picks to Washington for offensive lineman Trent Williams. Shortly after the trade was announced, Staley confirmed what every football fan was dreading:

Staley finishes his storied career with six Pro Bowls, a spot on the All-Decade team (2010-2019), and is a three-time member of the NFL’s Top 100 team (2012-2014).

In 181 games, he only accumulated 51 penalties. He also has three catches for 26 yards. But the most important highlight of Staley’s career has to be this block on an Alex Smith run.

Staley was just as important off the field as he was on it. According to the 49ers press release on his announcement, Staley was a two-time recipient of the Bobb McKittrick Award, and last season was one of eight finalists for the Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

A beloved teammate, friend, and girl dad, Staley will certainly be missed around the stadium. He’s had such an impact on his teammates, tight end George Kittle got a little emotional with this video message thanking Staley for all he’s done.

I can’t promise I didn’t tear up watching this video either.

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Staley is an incredible player and man. He’ll always be welcomed back at Levi’s Stadium with open arms from the organization and fans.

Thank you for 13 remarkable years, Joe Staley.