Joe Staley: I cried my eyes out when Brian Kelly moved me to the line
San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley is glad to be a starting offensive lineman in the Super Bowl. But he was devastated when he first became an offensive lineman in college.
Staley said at Super Bowl Media Day that after playing wide receiver in high school and beginning his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end, he figured he’d be a skill position player forever. Then a new coach, Brian Kelly, came along and informed Staley that he was being moved to the offensive line. Staley didn’t take it well.
“I started out as a skinny 200 pound wide receiver coming out of high school,” Staley said. “I was a sprinter and all of that stuff. I was really fast. I ran a 21 in the 200. Then I got fat. I went to college. Brian Kelly came in my sophomore year. Played tight end my freshman year in college. Brian Kelly came in and said ‘We do not use tight ends in our offense but we want to keep you on the field in some way. We are going to move you to tackle.’ I cried my eyes out. I am not afraid to admit it. Almost transferred but then stayed, gained weight, busted my butt and got drafted.”
It worked out for Staley, who ended up being a first-round pick of the 49ers. And Kelly, who is now the head coach at Notre Dame, has shown that he knows what he’s doing. But when Kelly first moved Staley, that wasn’t a move that Staley appreciated.