Joe Staley spoke to more than 83,000 users who logged in for the San Francisco 49ers virtual graduation ceremony Saturday evening. Staley wasn’t the only player that was involved. Dee Ford played “Pomp and Circumstance” on the piano, while Arik Armstead also had a powerful intro for a student speaker from the STEM Leadership Institute. There were quite a few other 49ers involved. From Kyle Shanahan to Jerry Rice. Staley stole the show during his six-minute commencement speech:
“Sometimes your friends are the ones that help you cross the finish line. I will always remember this past season when George Kittle had three Saints defenders on his back and carried our team to victory. Be grateful for the people and relationships that help you get to where you want to be and embrace being in that role for someone else.”
Here is how Joe finished his speech:
Before I finish, and you get back to watching your 10th movie of the week, I want to share three lessons that I’ve learned throughout football that have been important lessons throughout my professional and personal life:
Enjoy the moment. My decision to retire was not easy and a big reason for that was how much I enjoyed so many things that the game provided me. Incredible memories and opportunities that have benefited me and my family. I worked my butt off, but I also laughed my butt off. Being present is one of the best decisions that you can make in life.
Stick with it. There are going to be lows for sure that make it hard to see light at the end of the tunnel but if you push through it, you never know what can happen. From 2015 to 2018, the 49ers won just 17 games in four seasons. It was very crushing. But my teammates and I kept at it, and last year, in just one season, we went 13-3 in the regular season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. I’m a firm believer that if you keep working hard, take it one day, one moment at a time things will turn around for the better.
Lastly, get to know the people around you. Invest in people. Get to know their stories. Now more than ever, it’s important that we truly get to know people outside of social media, technology and the internet. Talk to people, ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask someone you admire for advice – my guy Mike McGlinchey definitely had no problem doing that. Above all, try to understand why and how someone got to where they are – why they are who they are. Everyone has a story and there is a lot we can learn from one another. I have made countless relationships throughout my football journey with people I may have never had a chance to meet if it were not for this game. Special relationships that will be with me forever.
You can watch the entire speech here.
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