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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Former Penn Charter star athlete Mike McGlinchey hopes to bring back the 49ers glory days. Photo by Al Thompson

MIAMI: San Francisco 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey is just 25 years old but has the perspective and sense of history and heritage for a man twice his age.

He also loves to have conversations about those perspectives.

“I went to Notre Dame so I’ve had that feeling of tradition, old memories and old traditions and all that kind of stuff from the time I got to college,” McGlinchey said at his riser during Thursday’s media session. “It made me kind of appreciate everything that was going on. Then I got draft by this organization which is comparable to a place like Notre Dame and the history that is has, the championships and the players that came before me. That’s the cool thing I love.”

McGlinchey seemed to very excited about 49ers alumni that came to see this year’s team.

“They come out, we’ve had Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Harris Barton…all these different guys come back and talk to us,” McGlinchey said. “And share their wisdom for what they did when they wore this jersey. It’s your mission, as you continue to go forward. I learned this when I was 18, that when you put on this uniform, or back then it was Notre Dame’s uniform, now it’s the red and gold, there’s a lot of people that you represent that came before you. I think that’s pretty powerful. And I think it’s our duty to get this organization back to the dominance that it showed back then.”

McGlinchey played football, basketball and track at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. The Quakers compete in the Inter-Academic League and do participate in the PIAA. Penn Charter is not an athletic powerhouse in either if McGlinchey’s two main sports: Football and basketball. He was an elite high school athlete competing on teams that struggled. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I did win one, I won a track title,” McGlinchey said with a smile. “Football and basketball, my two main sports, I never won a title in. We were 4-6 and 5-5 my entire time at Penn Charter. We were close my senior year in basketball to winning a title, but we ended up second.”

Even at Notre Dame, McGlinchey did not taste the big time with regards to significant wins. From 2014 to 2017, the Fighting Irish were an underwhelming 32-19 including two Bowl wins over LSU in the Fiesta Bowl and Music City Bowl.

“It's been pretty funny how I’ve never gotten to the big championship moments,” McGlinchey said. “Hopefully all those shortcomings in my career, they say, you learn best when you lose. Hopefully that all comes to fruition in the biggest championship in sports, I’ll have paid my dues long enough back then to come up with a win on Sunday.”

Looking back, McGlinchey was asked if he ever regrets not playing in the PIAA.

“Ha, ha no,” McGlinchey said. “I grew up in St. Joe Rob (St Joseph St Robert School) in Warrington. We were a feeder school to Archbishop Wood. I had a lot of friends from CYO football and basketball that went on to Wood.”

At this point, McGlinchey is asked about offensive lineman Ryan Bates, who starred at Wood before moving on to a standout career at Penn State and is now on the active roster of the Buffalo Bills. The years of their high school careers line up that they could have been teammates for the Vikings.

“Ryan Bates graduated from SJR (St Joseph St Robert School) in my brother’s class actually,” said McGlinchey, proving once again that we live in a small world. “I have a lot of friends who went to Wood. When they went to high school, they won the state title three out of four years. They love to rub that one in. But I think I’m doing OK. I loved my experiences at Penn Charter. It was the right place for me. It’s been so good to me and my family. I still have little brothers who goes there, and I have another brother that’s going to go there in a couple years.”

McGlinchey has a very real chance to reverse his fortunes. The 49ers have been rock-solid on both sides of the ball.

The 49ers offensive line will be tested against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl (6 PM FOX). The line lost its veteran center Weston Richburg for the season on December 8 when he suffered a torn Patella tendon in the 49ers win over the Saints.

Veteran journeyman Ben Garland has stepped in and played well in his place. But this is the Super Bowl. The second-year tackle talked about his significant Garland’s role will be on Sunday.

“The center controls the offensive line,” McGlinchey said. “Everything that we do, every decision we make goes through him. He’s got to get everyone onto the same page. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Garland signed with the 49ers last Spring to backup Richburg. Richburg has started 70 of the 78 games he has played in over eight years, Garland has 10 starts on the 62 NFL games he has played in over 10 seasons.

McGlinchey says he has confidence in his linemate. He said with Richburg rehabbing a knee injury from last season throughout OTA’s, mini-camp and training camp, Garland got a lot of reps with the ones.

“Ben had proven to us, not that he needed to, that we had built that kind of core and that kind of chemistry with Ben well before these moments were even born. Ben has done an unbelievable job for us since he stepped in for Weston. He’s incredibly smart, he incredibly athletic and he plays so hard. He’s an awesome guy to have on our team.”

If there is anyone who knows how tough it is to win a title, it’s McGlinchey. Coming close is something another family member has experienced in a big way.

“Nothing is guaranteed in this league,” McGlinchey said. “I learned firsthand. My cousin’s team (Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons) was in a high position when it looked like they were going to start tearing up the league year after year after year.”

McGlinchey continued.

“How rare is it to get back to this point and how rare it is to get back to this game year after year,” He said. “And that’s why the Patriots, and what they’ve accomplished over the last 20 years is so special and so impressive because of how hard it is. They’re the standard of what it takes and that’s what everybody wants to emulate…it’s almost impossible. But we’ve got the right guys at the helm if that were to be the case, we have a lot of talent, young talent and a lot of good people.”

Mike was asked how the 49ers offense was mentally prepared, if needed, to be able to match the offensive fire power of the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.

“We’ve done that before. We went down to New Orleans, and that was the kind of game that it was,” said McGlinchey referring to the 48-46 win on December 8. “That’s the kind of game that it was. We prefer it not be a touchdown-to-touchdown, whoever gets the ball last kind of game. One, for your heart rate, two for just controlling the game. But we capable of doing anything. I think that’s what’s been really cool about being a part of this them this year. It’s the multiplicity of the ways that we’ve won. We’ve won games 9-0 (at Washington), we’ve won game 48-46, we’ve won games by complete domination, 51-10 (actually 51-13 against Carolina) and we’ve won a lot close games like we did in Seattle. We’re ready for any kind of matchup.

“The Chiefs present a lot of problems,” McGlinchey continued. “They’re extremely talented on both side of the ball. They have the reigning MVP at quarterback. He can throw the ball a country mile. He has receivers who are as athlete and super stars and anyone in the league. It could go anyway. That is why it's such an intriguing matchup.”

McGlinchey was reminded the 49ers run of titles ended after the 1994 season when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 on January 29, 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium in, of all places, Miami.

It is great for a young player determined to get his franchise back to its glory days of winning titles, it’s another to actually do it. McGlinchey smiled and said:

“We’re going to focus on one right now.” *

Some stats from and

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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