SANTA CLARA – The longest-tenured player in the organization wants to hear no talk about a “rebuilding season” – even if there appears to be long odds against the 49ers improving enough to rebound this year as a playoff contender.
Joe Staley is entering his 10th NFL season, and he will be 32 years old when the regular season begins. He implied he does not have the time or patience for another long-term building process to take shape.
Coming off a season in which the 49ers finished last in the NFC West with a 5-11 record in Jim Tomsula’s only season as head coach, the 49ers did not use free agency to add veteran players to strengthen positions that need help despite the presence of $52.6 million in cap space.
But the 49ers currently own 12 draft picks, which is likely to mean the team’s roster will see another influx of youth and inexperience that must be developed.
“We have the 12 draft picks,” Staley said. “This is all front office stuff. I approach every season the same, trying to do my job the best I can and try to help the team win football games. That’s why we’re all here.
“As far as rebuilding and all that stuff, I don’t look at any of that stuff. We have guys who have to step up and have to play well. But we’re all paid to . . . we’re all brought into the NFL as a rookie, as first- and second-year guys to win football games.”
Staley did not experience a winning season in his first four years in the league. But that turned in 2011, and the 49ers did not experience a losing season under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Last year, the 49ers were among the worst teams in the league and own the No. 7 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
“You see the results last year. That’s not what we wanted,” Staley said. “I can see where people make the assumption it’s rebuilding and stuff. But as players, you never look at a season as a rebuilding season.
“It’s a waste to guys like me, guys that have been coming to the end of their career a little bit. We can’t waste years for rebuilding. I’m trying to win right now, so we got to do everything we can to win football games this year.”