49ers LT Joe Staley made his retirement official last weekend as San Francisco headed into the draft. The 35-year-old has been a rock on San Francisco’s offensive line for a long time but he missed nine games last season due to a variety of injuries. Ultimately that’s what pushed him to walk away from the game after a season where he came within reach of his first Super Bowl win.
“Last year should have been the pinnacle of my career. We had an absolutely unbelievable team from the culture to the coaching staff, front office, the players that were around. And it was like that the whole entire year. But, for me personally, it was really, really difficult because of the injuries,” Staley said in quotes distributed by the team via Pro Football Talk.
He went on to detail an absolutely brutal 2019 as his body absorbed blow after blow.
“I had the broken leg which was kind of a weird rehab for that, it wasn’t very straightforward,” Staley said. “I had a lot of complications coming back from that. I think they were pretty documented and then I came back and broke the finger, had to have surgery on that and that was just a broken. While that happened, I had a back thing and then I’ve had neck stuff that’s been going on for a little bit and it just kind of got worse and worse as the season went on. The last half of the year, not really the last half the year, it was kind of like the last two or three games it started getting progressively worse and then in the playoffs it was really bad, and then kind of culminated with the Super Bowl being the worst.”
At the end of the season, Staley started weighing what his next step would be. He wanted to balance taking his time and making absolutely sure he was comfortable with his decisions with allowing the team to find a replacement given the void his retirement would create at left tackle for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The NFL Draft last week was his final deadline.
“I saw a bunch of different doctors,” Staley said. “I was getting a lot of different opinions on what was going on and the risks going forward and all that stuff. I weighed all that and then I was really in contact with the Niners. I was in contact with them the whole entire time. They knew that this was something that I was weighing after the season was done and tried to be as open and honest as I could during the whole entire time because it was really important for me to make sure whatever the decision was that I was going to make that I wasn’t screwing them over, so to say.”
- Staley said he’s had preliminary talks with the 49ers about continuing to be involved with the organization in some capacity. (Nick Wagoner)
- Stanley mentioned that he intends to spend the next year with his family before making another career decision.
- Staley said he “couldn’t be more excited” for the 49ers acquiring LT Trent Williams: “I couldn’t be more excited for Trent to be with the 49ers, knowing a player with his ability is going to take over that left side.” (Cam Inman)
Cardinals DC Vance Joseph was on the hot seat after just one season in Arizona after the defense he piloted finished last in the NFL in yardage allowed. However, HC Kliff Kingsbury elected to give him a mulligan of sorts and bring him back for a second year. The Cardinals also devoted a chunk of their offseason resources to bringing in players on that side of the ball, which is helpful but also puts what Joseph acknowledges is “a lot” of pressure on him if the Cardinals don’t improve.
“It’s always pressure,” Joseph said via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. “And it’s pressure from me. I want to be the best, obviously, and I want us to play top 10 defense. The pressure is always there. But the pressure is always solved with having four draft picks here, having your two corners starting out Week 1 for you. Everyone feels pressure in this business, but that’s part of it. Nothing’s guaranteed, but the pressure is always there. I have no problem with pressure.”
- Joseph said first-round pick Isaiah Simmons will line up at linebacker but will be a “problem-solver” for their defense. (Darren Urban)
- Joseph added that Simmons is unlikely to see time at safety or cornerback like Clemson used him in their defensive system. (Josh Weinfuss)
- According to Joseph, LB De’Vondre Campbell was their top free-agent target this offseason and he did not think they’d be able to sign him because of his price on the open market. (Weinfuss)
- Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times confirmed Rams WR Josh Reynolds would replace Brandin Cooks in the starting lineup.
- Seahawks DT Jarran Reed confirmed on Twitter that he’s back in the number 90.
- Reed sold the number to DE Jadeveon Clowney when Seattle traded for him last year, and Clowney said it “wasn’t cheap” to get it. As Clowney is still a free agent, the number was still available. (Patrick Olde Loohuis)
- However, Reed downplayed the significance of the change: “Look I understand everyone is looking for a sports story it’s not one stop with all the speculations … y’all trying to make news out of a jersey number.” (Twitter)