NFC Notes: Buccaneers, 49ers, Panthers



  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes the Buccaneers are one of the non-playoff teams in 2019 that gave themselves the best chance to make the postseason in 2020. 


Retired 49ers LT Joe Staley said an accumulation of stinger injuries was the reason for his decision for retirement this offseason. 

It was a bunch of stingers,” Staley said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “… It got to the point where in the Super Bowl, I’d make contact with my head with anybody (and) I’d have — from the base of my head down to my back — I’d have just a zing and my arms would go numb. I had herniations at a bunch of different levels and really severe stenosis.”

Staley said his doctor indicated that he’d require multiple fusion surgeries if he continued his NFL career. 

[He] was like, ‘If you’re going to continue to play football, you’re probably going to have to have fusion surgery on multiple levels,’” Staley said. “I was like, ‘I’m 35. I’ve got kids. I don’t want to not be able to turn my neck for the rest of my life.’”

Doctors reiterated that Staley would have eventually suffered “long-term damage” if he continued playing. 

When I went and saw these doctors, I realized how serious it was,” Staley said. “They were like, ‘If you continue to play, you’re going to really do some long-term damage.’”


  • In a radio interview with WFNZ, Panthers HC Matt Rhule acknowledged the team went into this past draft intending to focus on the defense even if they didn’t plan on using all their picks on that side of the ball: “We knew we needed to draft at least six defensive players.” 
  • Rhule mentioned he’s never had a player play 98 percent of the snaps like RB Christian McCaffrey did last season and came close to the season before. He mentioned being able to use other backups like Mike Davis, Reggie Bonnafon and Jordan Scarlett, as well as even WR Curtis Samuel who played some running back in college. 
  • Rhule said there was no truth to rumors that he and GM Marty Hurney weren’t on the same page and had differing opinions on how ready the team is to compete. 
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