The veteran tackle is one of the last remaining players left over from the Jim Harbaugh-led group that came within a completed pass of winning the Super Bowl.
It's all been downhill from there -- until now.
"I haven't felt like this in a long time," Staley said Wednesday, when asked about the effect new coach Kyle Shanahan is having on the team, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "This might sound kind of bad but I'm enjoying football again. Excited to come to work every single day. The last couple years there were days where I couldn't honestly say that. So that's awesome to have that feeling back. I'm really, really excited about the new staff. Kyle is by far one of the most intelligent coaches that I've worked with."
We post this not for the update on Staley's workplace satisfaction, but to point out the effect Shanahan is having on a franchise that was reduced to a flaming disaster by the end of 2016.
Players have warmed up quickly to their new coach, with Wagoner noting that "they marvel at Shanahan's ability to explain the exact responsibilities of players on both sides of the ball on every play and the attention to detail that allows him to explain why every player matters on any given call."
"One of the coolest things, I thought, is when we have our team meetings Kyle puts up plays and he explains them both from an offensive perspective and a defensive perspective," said quarterback Brian Hoyer. "So, I sit next to Dekoda Watson and he's like, 'Man, I never even knew half of this stuff, like who has got a certain gap and how we're trying to affect that gap.' I think that's one of the great things about Kyle as a coach, is that he is able to break it down to the simplest level, whereas I think a lot of times in this league that people bypass that and they just want to tell you, 'Just do this.'"
Hoyer, of course, has past experience with Shanahan. The two worked together in Cleveland, where the coach maximized Hoyer's skill set to help the Browns forge a surprising 7-4 record before the team imploded.
His players in San Francisco, so far, are comprehensively buying in.