Joe Staley received a text from his agent on Tuesday that notified the San Francisco 49ers left tackle that he would be Hawaii-bound to begin the New Year. The news marked Staley's fifth consecutive Pro Bowl and illustrated that the nine-year pro is still at the top of his game.
The left tackle took a humble approach when asked on Wednesday to qualify his season.
"I think I've been doing pretty well," Staley said at his locker. "I had one bad game against the (Chicago) Bears. That's one I want back, but I think I've been doing pretty well this season."
Take a look at the best photos from Joe Staley's season in which the left tackle made his fifth straight Pro Bowl.
If Staley is able to start in the final two games of the regular season, the 2007 first-round pick will have played in all 16 games during each Pro Bowl season. The 31-year-old left tackle acknowledged that taking care of his body becomes a greater focus with each passing year.
"I've been fortunate to participate in every single offseason, every single training camp," Staley said. "I have to do more in the offseason and away from the practice field to make sure I'm staying on top of it."
Staley said that will take part in the Pro Bowl, but mentioned that the honor is somewhat bittersweet given the 49ers 4-10 record.
"It's been kind of a weird year offensively," said the lineman, referring to the vast number of injuries the team has endured. "We've had young guys step up in roles where at the beginning of the season, that they didn't really picture themselves stepping into."
Staley expects that the expanded roles for young players on the roster will pay dividends in the years to come. Game experience this year could translate into a more productive offseason and greater confidence entering next season.
"I feel optimistic," Staley said. "We have a lot of young guys on this team and a lot of guys that are stepping up. We need more guys to get into those leadership roles. I see the traits and the qualities that are needed out of those young guys.
"It can't be forced on someone. It has to grow naturally for it to be effective."
The Pro-Bowl left tackle went on to name a few of the players who have flashed in his eyes.
"You see Jimmie Ward, the last four or five weeks, really playing amazing," Staley said. "He's a guy that really works hard. You see (Jaquiski) Tartt – he's a young guy – and (Arik) Armstead. And then you see Trent Brown playing really great last week on the o-line.
"And (Andrew) Tiller, all these guys stepping up in their roles where they haven't had a lot of playing experience. When you see success individually, you start becoming more confident and feel like you have a voice more."
All of the names listed by Staley will continue to see ample playing time against the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams in Week 16 and 17, respectively. Staley said the lack of playoff hopes in 2015 shouldn't diminish what the rookies as well as the rest of the team can accomplish before the season concludes.
"We have a great opportunity these last two weeks to finish on a high note," Staley said.