When the San Francisco 49ers started Day Three of the 2020 NFL Draft with a splash, acquiring OT Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick this year and a third-round pick next year, they did so knowing that veteran LT Joe Staley was planning to retire.
Here’s what helped set into motion the Trent Williams’ trade: six-time Pro Bowl and All-Decade OT Joe Staley is expected to retire due to health concerns, per league sources. The 35-year-old Staley wanted to inform the 49ers in a timely way to help find a replacement. They have.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2020
Shortly after the trade, Staley made the retirement official.
“After 13 incredible seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, and many recent months of consideration, it is with very mixed emotions that I am announcing my retirement from the NFL,” Staley said in statement. “The game of football has been a true passion of mine since I was 8, but my body is telling me it is time.
“Football is a physical sport and I have given my all to the game and pushed my limits. Last season was a dream to be a part of, having the opportunity to chase a Championship. But, it was by far the most difficult on me and my family. My body was breaking down with a variety of injuries and a deteriorating neck condition, and the constant discomfort affected every aspect of my life.”
Staley appeared in 181 regular season games, 11 postseason games and two Super Bowls, including this past Super Bowl LIV. He was an All-Pro 2011-2013 and was recently named to the 2011-2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame All Decade Team. Staley was also selected to the Pro Bowl six times, 2012-2016 and 2018.
“For the last 13 years, Joe Staley conducted himself in a manner that epitomizes the 49ers way and set a tremendous example for his teammates and our community,” said 49ers CEO Jed York in a statement. “A consummate professional, one of the best players in the game and a great human being, Joe has left an indelible mark on this franchise and everyone he has come into contact with throughout his career. His passion, sense of humor and heart are just a few of the many traits that allowed him not only to be a team leader but also an ambassador for our game and the Bay Area.
“One of the most respected and well-liked players in the NFL, Joe was integral to the success our organization has experienced over the last decade. I know Joe wrestled for some time with this decision because of his love for the 49ers and the game of football. As he walks away, my hope is that he does so knowing how greatly appreciated he is by the 49ers organization, my family, and our Faithful fans.
“Forever a member of the 49ers family, Joe holds a special place in our hearts and will go down as one of the true greats in the storied history of our franchise. I look forward to supporting him, his wife, Carrie, and his daughters, Grace and Audrey, as they embark on the next chapter of life.”