Joe Staley is different from most offensive tackles in the NFL. His path to becoming a 300-plus pound All-Pro blocker included being a high school track sprinter and receiver and college tight end.
Even now, at a listed 6-foot-5 and 306 pounds, Staley is lean, agile and strong and relies more on technique, quickness and strength than bulk to do his job.
So when Staley learned Chip Kelly would be his new head coach with the 49ers – bringing his wide-open, fast-paced spread offense to the Bay Area – Staley knew that would mean he’ll have to be fit, too.
And he said that’s not a problem. In fact, he’s looking forward to it.
“I’ll be able to move and pull and do all that kind of stuff,” Staley told the Bay Area News Group recently. “Yeah, everybody that’s played for him and everybody I’ve talked to just says, ‘Be ready to be in shape.’ That’s something I’ve been able to pride myself on is being able to move and run and being in shape and working hard, so I think guys are just going to have to get used to running a little more and keep up with the fast tempo because that’s huge in this offense.
“At the same time, we’ve got a lot of hard workers on our offensive line, so I’m not too worried.”
By now, too, Staley is used to changing regimes with the 49ers. Except for the stable four seasons under Jim Harbaugh, Staley has played for a revolving carousel, from Mike Nolan to Mike Singletary to Jim Tomsula and now Kelly. For each, however, Staley – a first-round pick from Central Michigan in 2007 – has been excellent, reaching the Pro Bowl five times. It seems, too, that he should be a nice fit for Kelly’s spread attack.
And, at age 31, he should have several good seasons remaining. He's signed through 2019.