John Lynch confident Joe Staley returns to 49ers for 2020 NFL season


INDIANAPOLIS -- After the 49ers’ Week 17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, Joe Staley walked off Century Link field in tears. 

Emotions overwhelmed the 13-year veteran left tackle who finally was part of a win in Seattle after a seven-year drought. A few weeks later, a win in Super Bowl LIV could have been the pinnacle of Staley’s lauded career, but it was not to be. 

While Staley is under contract through the 2021 season, there always has been a possibility he could walk away from football at any time. In 2017, after three head coaching changes in as many years, Staley contemplated retirement, but coach Kyle Shanahan convinced Staley that things would change for the better. 

On Tuesday, general manager John Lynch told local Bay Area media that he is confident Staley will return for the 2020 season. 

“I don’t think you know with certainty with any player, but all indications, Joe is really happy being a Niner,” Lynch said. “He’s healthy and that’s all good, and I think he performed at a really high level. We love having Joe around and hopefully we can keep doing this song and dance for years to come.”

Staley does not have a history with injuries but played in only seven regular-season games in 2019, his lowest career total since being drafted in 2007. He suffered a fractured fibula in Week 2, and upon his return in Week 9, fractured and dislocated a finger which required surgery and kept him out another three games. 

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Staley did make it through the entire postseason healthy, and under the advice of Lynch and the 49ers, has taken some time off to think about his return. 

“We’ll see what’s on Joe’s mind but right now,” Lynch said. “I think he’s in a good place and we told him, get away think through all that I think he’s excited and happy where he’s at.”  

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