Left tackle Joe Staley has been on the 49ers roster longer than any other player. The former No. 1 pick in 2007 is 34 now, but he’s not making any plans to say goodbye.
Staley – who’s having another strong season – is excited about coming back in 2019, the final year of his six-year contract. With one game remaining on this year’s schedule, a matchup with the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles, Staley told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle this week that he’s having fun, playing up to his standards and eager to play a part in the 49ers’ resurgence.
He has an incentive, too. He got to play in one Super Bowl with San Francisco, but didn’t get a win. He wants a Super Bowl ring.
“I’m old and just want to win,” he told Branch.
Even though this year hasn’t gone well, with his team 4-11, Staley says he’s excited by the coaching staff and some of the young talent added to the roster the past two seasons.
“I really do believe in what we’re doing,” Staley said. “I wouldn’t B.S. you guys. I kind of keep it straight with you guys and how I’m feeling. I look forward to next season.”
Quarterback Nick Mullens, who stepped into the starting role late this season, says Staley brings more to the team than just his ability to pass- or run-block, calling him “awesome.”
“He’s got a very dynamic personality,” Mullens told reporters. “He’s a great role model and great leader for the locker room.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan, too, doesn’t see Staley going downhill at 34.
“I thought he had a good year last year and I think he’s improved a lot this year,” said Shanahan.
Staley says that after next season, he’ll assess his level of play. If it’s still high, he likely will want to sign a new deal with the 49ers. But that’s in the future.
For now, he and his teammates are thinking about Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, against the division-champion Rams. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m.