How 49ers' Staley uses cancer battle to maintain perspective

It’s important to maintain perspective in life, which is easy for 49ers assistant head coach Brandon Staley to do.

In 2006, a 24-year-old Staley — then a quarterback at the University of Dayton — was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. After six months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, Staley beat cancer and soon after began a coaching career that has had no shortage of twists and turns.

Now 18 years later, Staley begins a new role with San Francisco after he was fired from his Los Angeles Chargers head-coaching job midway through the 2023 NFL season.

In speaking to reporters after the 49ers’ organized team activities (OTA) practice on Wednesday, Staley was asked about his cancer battle and if it continues to provide him with perspective to this day.

“Of course,” Staley said. “My cancer journey is directly responsible for me becoming an NFL head coach and it’s certainly going to be a big reason for me responding to what happened after becoming a head coach. As a competitor, you’re always looking to improve and you have to be able to prove yourself under tough circumstances and that’s part of sports, that’s part of life, being able to deal with all of it.

“So my personal journey, there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not reminded of it and I’m very thankful for it and hopefully it will help me here.”

After leading the Chargers for two seasons, Staley now will take a step back in his career to help coach the 49ers’ defense alongside first-year defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen.

And no matter where his NFL journey takes him next and regardless of the ups and downs he might experience, Staley always will maintain the proper perspective to get through any situation.

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