Thursday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers announced they had signed left tackle Joe Staley to a 2-year contract extension. Staley spoke with the media via conference call as he was making his way to the airport for a date tonight. Naturally Staley was led into a discussion connected to Alex Boone's situation. You can check that out starting with the second question.
How did this thing came together through the offseason to the point that it gets done a week before camp opens?
"Yeah, it was just an ongoing thing with myself and the organization. It was not a situation of content, I signed my previous deal after my second year. I'm a different player now and the organization is a different organization. We both felt it was time to get something done. And what I'm most excited about is the opportunity to play my whole entire career as a San Francisco 49er. That was one of my goals that I set out to do as a rookie coming into the NFL was to make an NFL roster, become a starter, win a Super Bowl and play my whole entire career with one team. Very excited for the opportunity to do that and really grateful for the 49ers allowing me that opportunity and now it's just time to go work on that Super Bowl."
Was it ever stressed to you by the 49ers that in order to get a contract done, you had to attend the offseason program, you had to attend the mandatory minicamp, all that stuff?
"No. I know what route you're going down and to address that, every single situation is different and every single contract negotiation is different. And so what's right for me is not right for someone else and what's right for someone else is not the same way that I do things. I'm not going to speak on someone else's contract situation and what someone else is doing and whatnot. I'm not speaking on those players that you're alluding to. They're very, very talented players and I'm speaking of Alex Boone. He's someone that I have the utmost respect for and really, really hope that we can play our whole entire career together because he's someone I have a ton of respect for and want to see him here. But, like I said before, it's his situation and whatever he wants to get done, I have confidence that the Niners and him will work it out."
Did you sign this extension before the ceremony or after?
But you knew you had a contract to go in to sign in the facility once you were done with the ceremony?
With that in mind, did that make it even more of a neat event for you to be able to take part in that ceremony knowing that you were going to be around here a lot longer?
"For sure. It was definitely a great experience coming from where the franchise was when I first got here and the losing seasons we had and the memories that we created at Candlestick, and then being part of the groundbreaking ceremony two years ago. And then having a contract extension, potentially playing my whole entire career hopefully with the 49ers and setting me up to be a 49er for life. And then having the ribbon-cutting ceremony today, it was really a special honor and something I wanted to be a part of. I'm very excited for all that and also excited for everything to be done with and just move on and really, really focused on this offseason getting stronger [inaudible] and win the Super Bowl."
They gave QB Colin Kaepernick an extension last month, so obviously you two are tied to the hip now for a while. What is it going to be meaning to protect him for the foreseeable future now?
"I was super ecstatic when I saw that he was extended. He's an amazing player with everything you look at in a quarterback and then some. He adds a lot of different dimensions to our offense that a lot of teams don't have. The thing that I just love about him is his work ethic. I respect the way he shows up every day and the way he works when it's football season. To be able to protect his blindside for the years to come is something that I definitely take great pride in and do my best to do."
Can you maybe just talk about the team's mindset once you guys all show up together on Wednesday when you report for training camp? Just what it might be like compared to the past couple of years knowing that you're still within reach of a Super Bowl Championship?
"Yeah, there's definitely urgency, we know that. The quality of players we have, the quality of coaches we have, we're all very familiar with each other. There's no ‘figuring it out.' There's no ‘we'll see.' We all know that we are a very talented football team and that we have very high expectations. And we set the expectations the highest and that's the Super Bowl. We've said that in the year's past and the same exact mindset of what's coming in. We have to closeout those games this year. We have to find a way to win those close games and find a way to close it out. So, I think that's something that we're definitely going to be focusing on in training camp and just work with an extra sense of urgency. That's probably the main focus at training camp."
You said you're at the airport. Did you come in for today's ceremony or have you been here all along?
"I was up there for a little bit. I had to fly back down. I've got a date tonight, so I'm heading back."