49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media before practice today and we'll have the transcript a little later today or early tomorrow. I had a chance to catch some of the live stream at 49ers.com and during the press conference, Coach Harbaugh informed the media that Joe Staley has been cleared for walkthroughs, but he has not yet been cleared for full practice. The NFL has a specific protocol for clearing players to get back into practice and games so it remains to be seen how much longer it will take for Staley. He would seem to be on the right path, but it will take a little more time.
If Staley is unable to go, Alex Boone will get the start on
Sunday Monday at left tackle. Boone has made several relief appearances in his career and is used as an extra blocker when everybody is healthy, but this would be his first career start. While he did not start against Arizona last week, he got a lot of work in when Staley went down with his concussion. Tre9er put together a detailed breakdown of Boone's work last week.
Boone was considered extremely talented coming out of college, but he had an alcohol problem that turned him into an undrafted free agent. Thankfully he has straightened out his life and worked his way up from the bottom of the barrel to a recent four-year extension. Ideally, the 49ers will get everybody healthy and back on the field soon, but if Boone does get the start, it will be interesting to see how he handles the Steelers pass rush. Maybe a strong performance alters the team's offensive line plans moving into the offseason. Starting jobs in the NFL can change in a second, so we'll see what a potential start does for Boone.