All-Decade 49ers left tackle Joe Staley helped make Nick Bosa’s transition to the NFL last year about as smooth as possible.
Bosa came to the 49ers as the No. 2 overall draft pick with a reputation as being an advanced defensive line technician for a player of his experience level.
Staley, who was entering his 13th and final NFL season, competed against Bosa during practices in training camp last summer. Then, Staley would make sure to talk with Bosa at the end of the day and compare notes. That invaluable interaction helped Bosa acclimate quickly to the professional ranks.
“It was huge to be going against one of the best,” Bosa said.
“(We) would talk after every practice just about what he saw, how he felt I was as a player, and what he thought was the best way for me to approach pass-rushing with my skillset. I think just going against him and the input he gave me every day, helped me a lot.”
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Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had four more sacks during the 49ers’ three-game postseason, which ended in bitter disappointment with a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
Staley announced his retirement on Aug. 25, citing concerns over his long-term health, including a troublesome neck condition that plagued him last season.
“I really wish he was coming back, but I know it’s a decision he was kind of forced into,” Bosa said. “I just wish we could’ve gotten him a ring, but it doesn’t happen perfectly all the time.
“But we’ll win one for him, hopefully, in the future.”