Yes, you read that correctly.
49ers rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton, eager to begin work with his new team, flew from Nashville to San Francisco at his own expense Monday to work out with the club. However, the 49ers sent home the fourth-round pick from Louisiana Tech before he arrived at the club’s facilities.
According to 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who told the story on KNBR-AM in San Francisco on Wednesday, Patton would not have been able to take part in the club’s rookie minicamp from May 10 through May 12 if he arrived this week. According to Harbaugh, NFL rookies can be present at a club’s facilities right after they are drafted, but Patton was arriving after that period of time. (For those interested in hearing the story, Harbaugh’s remarks begin at about the eight-minute mark at the above link. Also, a hat tip to the 49ers for mentioning Patton’s interesting journey on Twitter.)
In the interview, Harbaugh joked that Patton’s trip was “probably the best money that he’s ever spent,” given how the story would now be associated with his desire to play the game and would be told time and again if he has a long career.
That said, Harbaugh’s respect for the rookie was clear.
“The fact that he would buy his own ticket, fly out here, just to me speaks volumes about him,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, to be honest with you, he reminds me of me. That’s something I would have done.”
And Harbaugh’s enthusiasm about Patton’s enthusiasm was clear, too.
“Isn’t that awesome?” Harbaugh said.