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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Notebook: Mike McGlinchey hopes to stay in the Bay; Jimmie Ward reflects on his time with 49ers; A Jimmy G sighting; Nick Bosa describes injury vs. Eagles; A Joe Staley - Kayvon Thibodeaux Twitter battle

Jan 29, 2023 at 8:27 PM--

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The end of the 2022 season brings a whole new set of questions for the San Francisco 49ers -- questions that will start to get answered in the weeks and months ahead after looming large in the locker room following their NFC Championship loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

The 49ers have a number of players slated for free agency and will have to make some tough decisions on who will stay and who will go. Two of those players -- offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and defensive back Jimmie Ward -- spoke about their futures on Sunday while also reflecting on their time with the 49ers.

We'll talk about what McGlinchey and Ward said Sunday, as well as a number of other topics in this version of 49ers Notebook. We'll also dive into what happened to Nick Bosa against the Eagles injury-wise, what Jimmy Garoppolo reportedly said on Sunday, and what went down on Twitter between former 49ers left tackle Joe Staley and New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Let's get into it...

McGlinchey hoping this isn't the end

Will the 49ers look to retain right tackle Mike McGlinchey this offseason? It's one of the most intriguing questions surrounding the team's group of impending free agents.

McGlinchey has had his ups and downs since being selected by the 49ers with their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Will the 49ers look to re-sign him? Or do they have a replacement in mind?

If it were up to McGlinchey, he'd stay right where he is. McGlinchey was asked after Sunday's game if he'd like to remain in San Francisco and made his hopes clear with his answer, although he doesn't seem certain how things will turn out.

"I would, but I know it's not always up to me," McGlinchey said. "So, we'll see how it goes. I hope for the best, but it's the NFL. Anything can happen."

McGlinchey sounds comfortable and happy with the 49ers, but he also knows there will be other players the team will be looking to retain as well.

"Some of my best friends are in this locker room," McGlinchey said. "I have a great relationship with the staff, coaches, the front office. Our ownership group's probably the best in football. Hopefully the cards fall my way, but it is a business. We've got a lot of players in this locker room -- a lot of good ones -- and a lot of people that deserve to get paid. We'll see how it goes, but yeah, I hope for the best."

With the start of free agency set for March 15, the 49ers will need to make their decision on McGlinchey in the weeks ahead. If Sunday was the last time McGlinchey suited up for the 49ers, he'd like fans to know he gave it his all when he was on the field.

"That's a tough question," McGlinchey said. "Someone who laid it all out for you and win, lose or draw I did it with class. I was a great teammate, and I played hard. And I love playing football, and that's all I hope anybody ever remembers me by.

Jimmie Ward open to return

As is the case with McGlinchey, it will be interesting to see if the 49ers find a way to retain versatile defensive back Jimmie Ward. The 31-year-old Ward has spent his entire career with the 49ers after being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and like McGlinchey he saw his share of ups and downs in San Francisco, most notably in terms of the injury issues he went through early in his career. But Ward has proven to be a valuable and underrated part of the secondary, wherever the 49ers lined him up.

Ward told reporters he'd be open to staying with the 49ers if they wanted him to return, but he also sounded confident the team would be just fine whether he's around or not.

"I feel like the 49ers are going to have a great team next year and years to come," Ward said. "They've got some great players in this building, a great coaching staff, a great GM, and a great owner. They know what they're doing. I'm pretty sure they're going to be in this position next year as well."

As for how he'd like to be remembered if his time with the 49ers is over, Ward said, "A great team player because I think that's who I was and that's what I was. That was my role here. And I think I took advantage of that. I feel like I made plays wherever they put me, and I dealt with injuries all throughout my career and I bounced back -- resilience at its finest. I proved a lot of doubters wrong. I'm still going to prove more doubters wrong. It's just who I am as a person."

Ward also seemed to say a goodbye to linebacker Fred Warner, just in case.

Is this also goodbye for Jimmy G?

After what happened in 2022, it's doubtful anyone affiliated with the 49ers will say for sure if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's days with the team have come to an end. But odds seem to be against a Garoppolo-49ers reunion given the presence of Brock Purdy and Trey Lance.

Few thought Garoppolo to wind up under center for the 49ers again in 2022 after he said his goodbyes at the end of the 2021 season, but things didn't work out as expected for him on the trade market after going through offseason shoulder surgery. Garoppolo and the 49ers worked out an arrangement towards the end of the preseason, then he found himself back on the field after Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. Garoppolo's foot injury in December opened the door for Purdy, who established himself as a viable option at quarterback.

So it seems likely Garoppolo will choose to hit free agency and seek out an opportunity to start for another team, but time will tell for sure. 49ers beat reporter Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area spotted Garoppolo speaking with 49ers co-chairs John and Denise Debartolo-York after the loss to the Eagles.

"The veteran quarterback... somberly walked up to Dr. John York and wife Denise, gave each a hug and expressed appreciation for everything they had done for him," wrote Chan. "As Garoppolo walked away, he told the team owners, 'Everything will work out.'"

The 49ers could have used Garoppolo against the Eagles after losing Purdy (elbow) and backup Josh Johnson (concussion) to injuries. On that subject, Garoppolo told NBC Sports Bay Area, "I wish I had a helmet."

Playing through some unexpected pain

Not long after Purdy left the NFC Championship game with his elbow injury, the 49ers got a scare when defensive end Nick Bosa was taken down after being run into while standing on the sidelines during a special teams play. But while Bosa was left a little bloody from the collision, he entered into the game and played through whatever pain he was experiencing.

"You're going through a lot at this time of the year, so you just have to keep on going," Bosa said after the game. "It was a punt and I was ready to run out because I don't think there was a return and [safety Tarvarius Moore] had the guy. He was driving him out of bounds and I'm kind of starting to move towards the field and I see him coming towards me and then he just whips them around and a cleat into my leg."

The game was still in the first quarter when Bosa got hit, but he took it as a bad omen for the rest of the day.

"That was kind of a sign of a rough day when you get hurt on the sideline," Bosa said.

Happy McCaffrey

Despite how things turned out on Sunday, running back Christian McCaffrey couldn't be happier with how things turned out for him after being traded from the Carolina Panthers to the 49ers in October.

McCaffrey experienced the deepest playoff run of his career with the 49ers, and while he was upset over the loss in the NFC Championship, he expressed his gratitude with how he's been treated since joining the team at midseason.

"There's a lot of emotions that come at you at once," McCaffrey said. "I think obviously it's disappointing, and we wanted to be playing and have a shot to play in the Super Bowl, but at the same time, I'm unbelievably grateful for the way this team took me in in the middle of the year. Feels like a family in there, from the coaches and the ownership to the players. And I'm grateful for everyone in that locker room. I think it was very special."

McCaffrey praised the culture surrounding the 49ers, citing it as the reason the team has routinely been among the NFL's best in recent seasons.

"I go back to just the practices when I first got here and didn't know a lot of people and just observing," McCaffrey said. "And there's a reason why that team has a shot every single year, and I know why now. And the fight that's in the locker room is amazing. It's unfortunate that it happened the way it did today, because I feel like all those guys deserve real shot. We all do. But again, this is a tough game, and sometimes it doesn't go your way."

Nothing to apologize for

Brock Purdy seemed to be down in the dumps after the loss to the Eagles, in large part because the game didn't turn out as he hoped it would for the team's veterans. Purdy wanted to help get the veterans to the Super Bowl, but his injury wound up standing in the way.

"I want it for these guys, the older guys, more than anybody," Purdy said. "As a rookie, you can say I got your whole career, but, man, these guys have told me that it's rare to get here. And so it's hard. It's not easy, man. It's more for those guys. And I feel for those guys, man, more than anything."

The veterans tipped their cap to Purdy, knowing that they might not have even had a shot at the Super Bowl if Purdy hadn't played as well as he did over the final months of the season.

"He ain't got nothing to be sad about," Warner said. "He's the reason we even got to this game. When Jimmy went down against the Dolphins, like we didn't know what our season was going to be.

"He came in and did a heck of a job. He's the reason we're here right now. And like I said, unfortunately, what happened, him getting hurt and Josh getting hurt, we just couldn't do enough to find a way to win."

McCaffrey added, "(Purdy) was a warrior. He kept doing what he was supposed to do. It's tough when you can't throw, but everyone was still dialed in and trying to make the next play."

Joe Staley mixes it up

Retired former 49ers left tackle Joe Staley won't ever get the chance to face off against New York Giants rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux on the football field, but on Sunday he took the opportunity to give Thibodeaux a pancake block in Twitter form.

Thibodeaux made a wisecrack about the 49ers' performance on Sunday, tweeting "Way this game look we might be better than the 49ers" after losing to the Eagles 38-7 the week before. Staley didn't appreciate Thibodeaux's remarks and weighed in with a harsh comeback.

Thibodeaux responded by tweeting he'd never heard of Staley. "Idc how famous you think you are if I don't know you….I don't know you," Thibodeaux tweeted.

Thibodeaux delivered a solid rookie season for the Giants, notching 49 tackles, four sacks and a spot on the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team. He still has a ways to go to catch Staley, who finished his career in 2019 after starting 181 games with six Pro Bowl seasons.

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