Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers tackle Joe Staley discusses his NFL future: ‘I’m old, and I just want to win’

Dec 27, 2018 at 12:26 PM--

Next year will be San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley's 13th NFL season. It will also be the final year of his contract with the team, so his future beyond that remains uncertain.

During his 12 years in the league, Staley has been a part of just three teams that ended their seasons with winning records. He was part of the 2012 squad which made it to the Super Bowl but ultimately fell short of adding a sixth championship for the organization. Staley knows time isn't on his side and would love to see his beloved 49ers win again before he decides to call it quits on an illustrious career.

The 2018 season, like so many before it, has been a huge letdown for the veteran offensive lineman. Staley admitted on Wednesday that he loves the locker-room chemistry that head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have built since taking over last year. Still, constant losing can take its toll on a veteran player.

"It hasn't been like a fun season," Staley told reporters in the team's locker room. "I'm old, and I just want to win. It's just kind of been frustrating in that respect."

Staley will be 35 years old when the 2019 season kicks off. That may not seem very old, unless you view it from NFL standards and from the perspective of a player who puts his body on the line each game, crashing into defensive players every snap.

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"The offensive line is a very physical position," Staley said. "At 35 years old, I'll play next year, give it all I have, and be ready to go for that whole entire season."

After that, Staley will be a free agent for the first time in his career. He'd love to end that career having played for just one organization, but right now, he is taking a year-to-year approach.

"I'm excited for next year, coming back," Staley added. "I'm excited to play next season and get going on that. But we've got one game left here, and I think everybody is just looking forward to trying to finish out the season strong and move forward to next season."

The 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams on the road during Week 17 last season and look for a repeat performance on Sunday. The team, however, won't have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, isn't coming off four-straight victories, and the Rams won't be sitting several starters, as was the situation last year.

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Staley contemplated retirement last season after injury impacted his play. A conversation with Shanahan changed his mind. How many more years does Staley have left in him?

"I'll know when I know," Staley answered. "I'll know when my play is slipping. I feel I played solid this year. I feel like I can still play at a high level in the NFL. My body feels good.

"Last year, at the beginning of the season, it didn't feel that great. I was dealing with some stuff, but I haven't really had to deal with anything this year. So that's been a blessing, and I'm still having fun playing football."

Staley believes the 49ers are on course for success. He believes in Shanahan, Lynch, the rest of the coaching staff, front office, and the players being added to the roster.

"I really do believe in what we're doing here," Staley said.

The question remains if Staley will be around when the 49ers finally do find success.

The 49ers close out the 2018 season on Sunday afternoon against the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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