If you had arrived a week early for a new job, your boss would love you. However, in this scenario, the 49ers’ boss had to send his new employee back home.
Quinton Patton, the 49ers’ fourth round selection, arrived in San Francisco on his own earlier this week, and it took a last-second phone call that stopped him from showing up at headquarters.
“He calls us two days ago and he said he’s here,” head coach Jim Harbaugh told KNBR. “He’s on his way. Just landed at the airport. He’s in his rental car. He’s coming over to the facility and he can’t wait to get started. And we had to go ‘Where? Which airport did you fly into? You’re in a rental car driving here? (He said) ‘Yeah, coach, I’m 20 minutes away.’”
If Patton had arrived at the 49ers’ headquarters, he would have been ineligible to participate in the three-day rookie minicamp next week, per NFL rules. Apparently, teams cannot meet with their new draft picks until the day of the minicamp.
So, Harbaugh and Co. had no other choice but to send him back to Tennessee.
However, Patton did earn praise from his new coach.
“The fact that he would buy his own ticket and fly out here, speaks volumes about him,” Harbaugh said. “To be honest with you, he reminds me of me. That’s something I would have done. I love it. I love it.”
Patton starred as a wide receiver at Louisiana Tech, which put up more points than anyone in the nation last season. He earned first-team All-WAC honors and second-team All-American honors thanks to his 104 catches for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Being the classy organization that they are, the 49ers should be willing to reimburse Patton with the cost of his flight and rental car. However, the bigger story here is Patton’s willingness and eagerness to get started early.