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Joe Staley Optimistic about Playing in Week 17

Joe Staley's injured hamstring is feeling better.

Need proof?

The 10-year veteran offensive lineman returned to practice on Tuesday for the San Francisco 49ers. Staley said he's "pretty optimistic" about his chances of playing in Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks.

A return to the lineup would end Staley's three-game inactive streak.

"If I'm healthy," Staley began, "I'm 100-percent playing. It just sucks sitting out. I've prided myself on being available to the football team every single week. I had a nice little (active) streak going there for a while. It was kind of a bummer to sit out, especially for a little hamstring injury."

Staley had 92 consecutive starts under his belt before a mid-week injury sidelined him prior to a home loss to the New York Jets.

Staley said he was eager to return to the field against any opponent. It just so happens that Sunday's regular season finale is against a long-time division rival.

"I'm ready to go against anybody," Staley said. "I'd be jacked up to go against anybody. Going against Seattle, we know what those guys bring up front. If I'm out there and able to go, I'll be ready."

The injury talk was short lived with the longest tenured 49ers player. Staley was then asked to express his feelings on San Francisco's rumored offseason changes.

"I would love continuity," the lineman said. "It's awesome to have coaching consistent throughout your whole entire career. But that's something through my 10 years here, I've played with seven different coordinators, so unfortunately it's something I haven't been accustomed to, the continuity."

Staley stated his desire to have Chip Kelly return for a second season in San Francisco.

"I'd love to have Chip back," the five-time Pro Bowl lineman said. "Chip's a great football coach. Look at the team – he's done a great job of keeping us together. We've got to hold up our end of the bargain as players as far as executing better.

"I think he's been awesome for us this year."

Under Kelly, the 49ers have improved from 2015 to 2016 in total offense (31st to 29th), rushing offense (21st to 4th) and passing offense (32nd to 29th).

"These are all decisions that are made way higher up than me," Staley went on to say. "I've got to focus on doing what my job is."

Staley recognized the fact that no team ever stays completely the same in consecutive seasons.

 "You work really hard to win football games and when you don't," Staley began, "there's got to be someone — players, whatever it is — we know there's going to be some kind of change."

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