49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh made an appearance on KNBR and after a few relatively cliched comments, he dropped a fantastic story about fourth-round pick Quinton Patton.
According to Harbaugh, two days ago, the 49ers got a call from Quinton Patton. According to Harbaugh, Patton told them he had landed in San Francisco, gotten a rental car, and was on his way to the 49ers facility in Santa Clara. The team was a bit surprised, asking, "You're where? You're in a rental car driving here?"
It turns out, NFL rules are rather strict when it comes to rookies coming to the team's facility to start working out. According to Harbaugh, the player can come to the facility in that 24-hour period after they are drafted, but after that, they cannot come back out until the rookie minicamp. As I understood Coach Harbaugh, had Patton come to the facility now, he would not have been allowed back for the rookie minicamp.
What is craziest about this story though, is that Patton bought his ticket from Nashville to San Francisco using his own money. The team will fly the rookies out next week, but he was so anxious to get going that he paid for his own ticket. Coach Harbaugh said the team spoke with his agent, and the agent told them Patton had mentioned buying a ticket to fly out so he could get started. However, the agent thought he was just joking around.
Coach Harbaugh acknowledged a breakdown in communication with Patton as the team had to tell him to turn around and fly back to Nashville. Given that the 49ers rookie minicamp isn't for another week and a half, he couldn't have just gotten a hotel room, and I'm guessing he does not know many people in the Bay Area.
So there you have it. Quinton Patton is fired up and ready to go to work. Coach Harbaugh talked about how it reminded him of himself. It's safe to say Patton has made a pretty spectacular impression on Coach Harbaugh and the 49ers. Coach Harbaugh talked about how it was probably the best money Patton ever spent. He thinks the story will follow Patton around the rest of his career, giving him a great first impression wherever he goes. I'm guessing the 49ers' veterans will needle him on it though for a nice chunk of his rookie year.