49ers left tackle Joe Staley never giving up on dream

49ers left tackle Joe Staley never giving up on dream

SANTA CLARA – Veteran left tackle Joe Staley is the most-accomplished player remaining on the 49ers.

As he and his family took their usual bye-week getaway to Tahoe, he said he was not apprehensive about where he would be traveling upon his return to work. After all, his name had been mentioned in speculation with the NFL trade deadline approaching.

“I didn’t think too much about it,” said Staley, 32. “I wasn’t worried about all of that stuff. I’m old and the team is struggling -- old in football years. So I think that’s probably going to happen every trade deadline.

“I wasn’t concerned about it. That’s the nature of the NFL. You’re never 100-percent in control of where you’re playing and what you’re doing, anyway. I didn’t think I was leaving.”

Staley, who has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls, continues to play at a high level. In the offseason he said he had no desire to take part in a rebuilding process.

But the 49ers are not even halfway through the season and their hopes for the playoffs have all but vanished. The 49ers (1-6) are on a six-game losing streak and, seemingly, becoming less competitve with every game.

“We can’t go into the second half of the season going, ‘Oh, man, this season didn’t work out.’ We’re 1-6. We have nine games left. Anything can happen,” Staley said “You take it one game at a time and put the best film of yourself you can out there. You try to do your best in practice and in games. And that’s what we have to focus on.

“We have to focus on doing our job. What does our job ask of us on this particular play? And executing it the best that we can. And that’s what you can do. That’s what you can do to build toward the future.”

Staley has experienced the playoffs three times in his 10-year career, including the near-miss of losing Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens. As he watched the Cubs win the World Series on Wednesday night, the spectacle of seeing the players and fans celebrate wildly evoked the emotions of a lost opportunity.

“Watching the World Series, the first thing I said to Carrie, my wife, was like, ‘God, I wish we would have won that Super Bowl because I want to experience what those guys are experiencing right there,’” Staley said. “That’s the most pure sense of joy that you can have besides your kid being born. I just want to be able to experience that. That’s what drives me. Nothing else besides that.”

Does he still think it’s possible for him to play on a Super Bowl winner?

His answer: “Yeah. I’m never going to give up, man.”

49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks


49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks

The 49ers hosted two veteran cornerbacks on free-agent visits the past two days and could be signing either Jaylen Watkins or LaDarius Gunter as they wind down their activity on the free-agent market.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday. “I’ll never say never. We’ve had a couple of guys visit in the last couple of days. Perhaps we’ll do something there. But for the most part, we’re wrapped up and pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

The 49ers do not have much depth behind presumptive starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The team is also likely to add to its depth in the draft.

The 49ers met with Gunter (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) on Thursday. Gunter, 25, started 15 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He recorded 54 tackles and broke up 12 passes. He signed with the Packers in 2015 as an undrafted rookie from Miami.

Gunter was waived at the beginning of last season and the Carolina Panthers claimed him. He appeared in just four games with Carolina, which did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

The 49ers on Wednesday met with Watkins, 26, a versatile defensive back who appeared in 36 games with five starts in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watkins (5-11, 195) played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'


Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'

STANFORD – Free-agent safety Eric Reid chatted with 49ers general manager John Lynch on the sideline, then moved into position onto the field for an up-close view of his brother’s pro day workout Thursday at Stanford University.

Younger brother, Justin, is aiming to be a first-round draft pick like Eric, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Both football futures of the Reid brothers remain uncertain. Justin's fate will be determined on draft day. Eric Reid remains in limbo as an NFL free agent. He has not gotten any action in the first week of free agency, and the 49ers have not made him a contract offer, he said.

But Lynch said the 49ers are closely monitoring Reid’s situation. However, the organization already has three safeties they like: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. And I would anticipate things starting to shake for him and we’ll see.

“I’d never say never. I really do think opportunities will start to come his way. We’ve been monitoring it closely and we’ll see how that shakes out.”

Reid, 26, a six-year NFL veteran, said his agent has spoken recently to “a couple of teams,” but no contracts or visits have been proposed.

Reid’s market might be impacted by his up-front role in the protests of racial inequality of the past two seasons. Reid and Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Reid said he would probably not take part in any future protests during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Reid said he has no regrets. He said he is willing to deal with the consequences of how NFL teams viewed his role in the protests.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”