Joe Staley announced his retirement on Saturday, but the impact he left on the 49ers almost overshadowed his goodbye to the game. That impact even touched those no longer with the organization.
Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh stopped by 95.7 The Game on Tuesday and spoke highly of Staley, who played under him for four seasons (2011-2014).
"One of the best players in NFL history," Harbaugh said. "Congratulations to him and everything he's accomplished."
And what was it like having a player like that on his team? It was as if Staley didn’t have an off button -- he was a hard worker with plenty of humility.
"A consummate pro, but every single game. I think he played every game available 2011, '12, '13, and '14.”
Harbaugh also commended the six-time Pro Bowl tackle’s downfield blocking game, with one in particular that stood out.
"And he also threw the greatest block I think I've ever seen, and that was in the playoffs against New Orleans on Alex Smith's great touchdown run,” he added. “But he's the best offensive lineman I ever coached."
In case you forgot, here is Staley's legendary block in the 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff.
Harbaugh often paused throughout the interview when asked about Staley, but it didn’t appear to be a technical issue that would cause a delay. He simply didn’t have any short answers to give on his former player.
Rightfully so -- the 49ers was Staley's only home over his 13-year career.
“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Staley said in his retirement announcement.
Harbaugh was proud to be a part of it, even for just those four years.
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