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.”