Just had a quick phone conversation with Auburn linebacker Quentin Groves, who met with the 49ers yesterday. By now, the 49ers have all they need to know about Groves’ athleticism (excellent) and college production (marvelous). The purpose of the visit was to get a better sense of Groves as a person. The 49ers also want to make sure that certain character concerns wouldn’t be concerns if Groves became a 49er. Groves had a few off-the-field incidents while at Auburn, including a domestic disturbance call (Groves made the call) in 2006.
Character is important to Nolan, McCloughan et al (just ask them), but they have shown a willingness to accept previous transgressions if they were convinced the player had owned up to his mistakes and learned from them. Sometimes they’ve been right (Michael Robinson), sometimes they’ve been wrong (Antonio Bryant). My guess is that the interview went well. The gregarious Groves was a darling of the Auburn area media, was a leader in the Tigers’ locker room last year, and he seemed like a genuinely happy and friendly guy on the phone. Groves said he hung out Friday with Dontarrious Thomas, a former Auburn linebacker, on Friday. Here’s what Groves, who was at a Panda Express restaurant when he took my call, had to say:
Did you meet with Mike Nolan?
He seemed like he was in a rush, so I only spent five minutes with him. I met with him at the combine.
Did you come away with a good vibe from the 49ers?
I think I did. I know I did. I met with coach (Jason) Tarver and coach (Greg) Manusky. We talked for quite a while. It wasn’t so much Xs and Os. I showed them at the combine I was a smart guy. We talked more about personal stuff. They wanted to get to know me.
Which of the teams picking before the 49ers do you think are a possibility?
The Giants, the Jets – every team I’ve been at is a possibility. (Groves said he thought the Steelers at pick No. 23 were a particularly good possibility).
Are all (seven) of the teams that brought you in 3-4 teams?
I had two 4-3 teams – Cincinnati and the New York Giants.
Tell me about those dislocated toes (Groves’ senior season was hindered when he suffered three disclocated toes on his right foot vs. Florida in September.)
I made a tackle on the goal line and as I was getting up, someone stepped on my foot. And all I heard was this pop. (Groves said he dislocated the second, third and fourth toes on his foot and that the injury was so painful they had to cut his shoe off on the sideline.)
If you don’t have that injury, how many sacks do you have at the end of the season?
Only God knows. Definitely more than three.
I imagine you got grilled pretty good about the off-the-field stuff. Do you think you satisfied their questions?
There weren’t any off-the-field issues. I’ve never been arrested, never been caught with drugs, never had none of that stuff. When the scouts ask me that stuff, I told them, me and my wife got into an argument. I never put a hand on her. I’d never hit a woman … What else? I had a wreck when I was in Atlanta. That was one thing. The last thing was I got caught with a bb gun when I was 10 years old.
So you are up front with all that stuff?
I never try to hide stuff. Just tell the truth, that’s my motto. Tell the truth and it won’t be a problem.
How freaked out were you when you found out about your heart issue?
Not so bad. I mean, I’m a guy that lives for today. I mean, I have a lot to live for but if I die it’s no big deal. When they said there’s something wrong with your heart, I said, ‘Can I die from it?’ and they were like, ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘Well, how long have I had it?’ and they said, ‘Your whole life.” And I was like, ‘What’s wrong then?’ I’ve been playing football at the highest level possible and there’s not too much that can be wrong with it.
Who wins in a race between you and your wife? (Treska is a former track star at Auburn).
She does. I tried already and she beat me by, like, 10 yards.
Speaking of Groves, some loser on NFL.com thinks that Groves will be the guy the 49ers end up taking at pick No. 29. If you can tolerate a disturbing reliance on the conversation filler "um" then click here.
-- Matt Barrows