From the moment the 49ers selected Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Notre Dame product formed instant chemistry with fellow offensive tackle Joe Staley. A true bromance quickly was created.
The two have manned the outside of the 49ers' offensive line that past two seasons, with Staley on the left and McGlinchey on the right. But there's a real chance Staley hangs up his cleats this offseason instead of returning for his 14th year in the Bay Area, where he is signed through the 2021 season.
When asked about Staley's future Wednesday on KNBR's "Papa & Lund Show," McGlinchey wouldn't speak on his friend's behalf.
"I'm not going to speak on Joe's decision-making. That's for him to do," McGlinchey said. "I don't know what his thought process is, but it's up to him. I know from a guy-who-watches-him standpoint, I know he can still play. I know he still has that ability. When he was healthy last year, like I said, he's still one of the best in the world at what does.
"Either way, I think he's deserved both. He's deserved a right to come back to this team and play football, but he's also earned the right to hang it up if he wants to. I don't know what his decision-making is there, and I'm certainly not going to speak to that.
"Obviously, as a teammate, and as a member of the 49ers, I know Joe is as vital to our success as anybody."
Staley, who turns 36 years old in August, was held to only seven regular-season games last year due to injuries. It was the first time he had missed a large chunk of a season since 2010, when he played in nine games.
NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco recently said to Greg Papa and Laura Britt there's a 50/50 chance Staley returns to the 49ers this upcoming season. Maiocco noted that Staley had been visiting the 49ers' training facility every day since their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
But facilities now are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that could hamper Staley returning to full health.
"This season took a toll on a lot of people, and he's a veteran," Maiocco said. "He battled some health issues. I don't know (if he will continue playing)."
Whether Staley returns next season or not, the 49ers could address their offensive line in the 2020 NFL Draft. A versatile player like Michigan's Cesar Ruiz could make sense at No. 31 overall, or if San Francisco trades back.
No matter what Staley chooses to do, McGlinchey believes his friend's future is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Staley also recently was one of four 49ers to be named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team.
"That's a huge deal to be one of four guys to be mentioned in a 10-year span of being the best in the world at what they do," McGlinchey said. "That's a pretty impressive thing. The stats and the stuff [speak] for itself, and I think Joe is under-appreciated during his time as a Niner, believe it or not. He's been to six Pro Bowls, and stuff like that, but he probably should have made more.
"And he's had so much more of an impact, and what he's put on film, I think, than most everybody else out there. I mean, there's a couple of guys that are on the same level as him, but I can't really put anybody that's better. And over his 13 years that he's been in the league, he's been the standard.
"I think when you are somebody that every other offensive lineman looks to, to implement things into their game, and you've been at the top for so, so long, I think it's a given to be in the Hall of Fame."