Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Joe Staley hoped to ‘pass the torch’ to DeForest Buckner, says 49ers miss his leadership

Oct 24, 2021 at 5:12 PM--


Former San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley, now an analyst with NBC Sports Bay Area, shared the story of how he learned about the DeForest Buckner trade last year. Needless to say, he was shocked. Staley had hoped for Buckner to carry on the leadership role after the offensive lineman decided to retire.

"Back in March, I had made the decision with my family that I was going to retire and step away from the football field," Staley said during the 49ers pre-game show. "And DeForest was one of the first players that I wanted to go talk to. I kind of wanted to pass the torch a little bit, [say], 'This is going to be your team now,' because he's looked at and viewed on that team as being the culture set or the leader of that squad.

"He flipped it on me when I thought I was going into the conversation, saying, 'Hey, I'm going to be retiring, doing all this.' He flipped it on me and said, 'I'm not going to be here. I just found out recently that I'm being traded. It's going to be announced in the next couple of days.'"

Staley couldn't believe what he was hearing. Not too long after, Buckner was traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

"I immediately went into shock," Staley continued, "... saying. 'Are you kidding me? How are you going to get rid of him?' It's because of what everybody said earlier. The leader, the leadership that he does every single day, in the locker room, showing guys how it's done. He's a true pro. I think that culture leadership that he brings is missed right now."

Buckner is preparing to face his former squad for the first time. The 49ers and Colts are scheduled to kick off from Levi's Stadium at 5:20 p.m. PT.




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