San Francisco 49ers

Staley says he, 49ers would welcome back Anthony Davis

San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley (74) during a timeout in the fourth quarter in the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams on Sunday, January 3, 2016 at AT&T Park in Santa Clara.
San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley (74) during a timeout in the fourth quarter in the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams on Sunday, January 3, 2016 at AT&T Park in Santa Clara. jvillegas@sacbee.com

SANTA CLARA -- Joe Staley said he hasn't kept up with Anthony Davis over the past year but that if Davis is ready to return to the 49ers in 2016, he'll be welcome in the locker room.

"If he's ready to play football and ready to come back, we welcome him back," said Staley, a team captain in 2015 and an unofficial captain of the offensive line. "He's a terrific football player and brings a lot to the team, a lot to the table."

Davis surprised the 49ers when in June he announced he was stepping away from the game due to health-related concerns. Davis has said since that the issues were with his hands and feet.

He's also maintained -- via steady chatter on social media -- that he wants to return in the upcoming season. Davis is only 26 and was considered one of the top right tackles in the league prior to an injury-riddled 2014 season.

When a Twitter follower asked Sunday whether he was really returning to the 49ers, Davis replied "Guaranteed."

The 49ers struggled to replace Davis for most of the season. Erik Pears started the first 14 games there even though he was originally signed to play guard. Rookie Trent Brown, however, stepped in for the last two games and played well.

Brown received particularly strong praise from Staley recently and from center Daniel Kilgore on Monday.

"This is a huge offseason for Trent Brown as far as taking his game to another level," Kilgore said. "He's not a rookie anymore. He's got a couple of starts under his belt. He knows what's expected of him. ... I think he'll make huge strides this offseason."

Davis, meanwhile, also used social media to pepper his former teammates with messages and observations throughout the year. When Staley, for example, had a hard time blocking Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor during a 49ers loss in Seattle in November, Davis wrote on Twitter, "The safety shouldn't be setting the edge against the run. Period. That's almost disrespectful."

Staley said he didn't follow Davis on social media.

"I'm sure when the time comes we'll have conversations if we need to," he said. "Always had a good working relationship with Anthony."

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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