The 49ers on Thursday officially signed a 12-year veteran to handle the most cerebral position on the offensive line.
Alex Mack, 35, is not the same player he was when he broke into the NFL in 2009 as a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.
But he certainly has the smarts and experience to perform well in Kyle Shanahan’s system. He also believes he is physically capable of giving the 49ers everything they want from him.
“I’m an older player,” Mack said Thursday during a video call with Bay Area reporters. “There’s no denying that. But I do feel like I play well. I think my film has been good. I felt good doing it. I think I can be great in this system.”
Mack was an NFL All-Decade selection for the 2010s. He is a six-time Pro Bowl player.
But Mack has experienced three consecutive seasons in which his Pro Football Focus grade has fallen. His overall grade ranked 17th among NFL centers who played 500 or more snaps last season.
“I don’t know exactly what goes into the PFF grades, but I know I can help contribute on this team,” he said. “I know I can still play this game. I know I can be a good player.”
Mack has played all 16 games in 10 seasons. He played 14 games for the Atlanta Falcons last year. He appeared in five games in 2014 due to a broken leg.
Mack said at this stage of his career he reassesses whether he wants to continue playing after each season, and he saw no reason to retire after the season he had with the Falcons.
“I’m taking it one year at a time, making sure I feel good, I play good and I can be a contributor on this team,” he said. “I played last year in Atlanta, and I felt good.
“I felt like I could move well. I like I was still a really good player, so I decided to come back in free agency and sign here.”