Why 49ers' Mike McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Why 49ers' Mike McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Mike McGlinchey probably felt as if he had no other choice but to play quarterback.

After all, it was the family way. And he had a terrific role model in his first cousin, Matt Ryan.

In 2008, McGlinchey attended the NFL draft along with his family at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons. And Matt’s older brother, Michael, said something that got McGlinchey to start thinking about shifting his focus.

“He knew I had that little pipe dream of playing quarterback,” McGlinchey said on The 49ers Insider Podcast of cousin Michael. “We met Jake Long, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that year. He said, ‘If you do what you need to do, in 10 years, you’re going to look like that.’

“My cousin called the right shot. I put my hand in the dirt, and it worked out from there.”

Ten years later, the 49ers selected McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft after he started 39 games and was a team captain at Notre Dame. McGlinchey has appeared in 25 games with the 49ers, all as the team’s starting right tackle.

On Sunday, for the first time, McGlinchey, 24, and Ryan, 34, will be playing in the same game when the Falcons visit Levi’s Stadium.

McGlinchey will be hosting a lot of the family, who will come to Santa Clara for what amounts to a family reunion. He comes from a football family that has produced more than a handful of college athletes, including four Division I players. McGlinchey is the only non-quarterback of the group.

“I’m excited for my family to come out and see everybody and hopefully get some bragging rights,” McGlinchey said.

McGlinchey did not always play offensive tackle. At William Penn Charter in Philadelphia, where Ryan also attended high school, McGlinchey did a little bit of everything, including playing tight end.

After Ryan already was in the NFL, during the annual family summer stay in North Wildwood, New Jersey, McGlinchey ran routes and caught passes from his famous cousin at Bill Henfey Park.

“I was his tight end for the day because I was in high school at the time,” McGlinchey said. “He was sailing balls over my head and I asked him what he was doing. And he was like, ‘That’s where Julio (Jones) goes up and gets it.’ And I said, ‘Well, OK, that’s not me.’”

McGlinchey credits Matt Ryan for setting the standard he would try to attain for himself. He watched him closely -- on and off the field -- when the family would attend Ryan’s games at Boston College.

“Matt helped me out, whether he knew he was or not,” McGlinchey said, “and it was by me being a little kid and watching him from afar, and adopting the way he talked to his teammates, the way you see him compete, the way you see him have fun on the field. That’s who I wanted to be. It turned out I was the offensive lineman instead of the quarterback, but I try to be that in my own way now that I’m a pro, as well.”

McGlinchey carries himself in a manner that impressed 49ers general manager John Lynch before the 2018 draft. Lynch later said that McGlinchey was one of the three most impressive prospects he interviewed that year. The others were safety Derwin James and running back Sony Michel.

Last week in Florida while the 49ers were preparing to face the New Orleans Saints, veteran left tackle Joe Staley referred to McGlinchey as “president” in front of a group of reporters. McGlinchey carries himself in a stately manner.

[RELATED: Injuries continue to pile up for 49ers after extended trip]

“I think it’s because of Matt,” McGlinchey said. “If you hear Matt talk, and you hear the way he talks to people and approaches people, I don’t know if there’s anybody better. He’s been that way for as long as I’ve been watching him. I can recall that kind of stuff happening and him interacting with people -- coaches, him and his dad talking to coaches, talking to fans -- when we were up at BC. I was in fourth or fifth grade at the time, and that stuck with me.

“Matt’s a hell of a leader. He’s a hell of a competitor ... I’ve always tried to emulate him from the time I was 9 years old watching him at BC”

Trent Williams chose 49ers partly due to Nick Bosa, defensive line

Trent Williams chose 49ers partly due to Nick Bosa, defensive line

The 49ers' defensive line is the strength of the team. Not just for the chaos it creates, but also for the players it helps attract.

Last season, San Francisco allowed the fewest passing yards per game (169.2) and tied for the fifth-most sacks (48) in the NFL. Anyone who watched the 49ers' defensive line quickly realized it was one of the elite units in the league.

That included new 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams, who sat out all of last season amid a dispute with Washington. That gave Williams plenty of time to study up on the top D-lines in the league, which ultimately influenced which teams he would be open to joining. After so much time away from game action, he knew he needed to go up against the best of the best.

"Oh man, I'm looking forward to it," Williams told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport on the "RapSheet and Friends" podcast. "When I looked for a team to go to, I looked at the opposite side of the ball to see who can I sharpen my iron on every day in practice because when I get out there on the field, I can't come up with a rust excuse. All that to me doesn't exist. So, I would rather be rusty in practice and be able to sharpen my iron then than to try to do it Monday night with all the cameras on me. 

" ... The defense is probably the best in the league. When you think about defensive lines that get after the quarterback, I think anybody with a pulse is going to throw the 49ers' front out there within the first, second or third groups to mention. So, that in itself excites me as a competitor, because I know I can get some of the best work done during the week. On Sundays, you're not going to see too many guys better than that group. Especially not any individuals that much better than [Nick] Bosa. I think they just don't have that many guys in the league that are better than him. So, I think for me, it's going to do everything for me to get me back to where I know I can be at."

[RELATED: Williams explains why 49ers were his ideal trade option]

When the 49ers' top offensive and defensive units go up against each other in practice, the expectation is that Williams and Bosa will be matched up head-to-head. That should make for quite the individual battle, and likely will only serve to make each player better.

Given that one has made the Pro Bowl seven times and the other is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, that should be a terrifying thought for most other linemen in the league -- on both sides of the ball.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Eric Reid calls out 49ers' messaging on Black Lives Matter tweet

Eric Reid calls out 49ers' messaging on Black Lives Matter tweet

Eric Reid sent a strong statement to the 49ers tweeting "Black Lives Matter" and #BlackoutTuesday. The former 49ers safety responded with "I think you meant Blackball Tuesday" and called the organization hypocrites. 

Reid joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the playing of the national anthem as a form of a peaceful protest against racial and social injustices, including police brutality, throughout the 2016 season when both players were part of the 49ers. Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since opting out of his 49ers contract ahead of the 2017 offseason.

General manager John Lynch admitted in May 2017 the 49ers told Kaepernick they would have released him if he didn't opt out of his contract.

The quarterback alleged NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protest, but Kaepernick ultimately settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last year. Reid clearly agrees with Kaepernick's beliefs regarding the league "blackballing" him due to his protests. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

CEO Jed York announced Saturday night the 49ers will be donating $1 million to local and national organizations committed to social change. York exlained why Monday, and even said, "We need to continue work that Colin drew attention to four years ago in 2016, and we need to continue to let our players, first and foremost, know they have a voice to be able to speak out" in an interview with the NFL Network's Jim Trotter.

After former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith praised York Saturday, Reid, who was teammates with Smith on the Carolina Panthers in 2018, expressed he had very different opinions and experiences with York than Smith did. 

[RELATED: Jackson insists 'fake' NFL should apologize to Kaepernick]

Reid continued to kneel in 2017 with the 49ers and the team opted not to re-sign him in free agency. The Carolina Panthers signed him to a one-year contract on Sept. 27, 2018, weeks into the 2018 season. 

The former 49ers first-round draft pick recorded 130 tackles and four sacks last season with the Panthers. He signed a three-year contract extension with Carolina in February 2019 and was cut one year later in March 2020.