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May 10, 2013
49ers notes: Early bird Patton misses first flight to SF


From the department if irony: The 49ers' rookie who was most eager to join his teammates after the draft will be the last rookie to officially join the full squad for offseason workouts.

Jim Harbaugh said that every will be able to join the team on Monday except for wide receiver Quinton Patton. Louisiana Tech's graduation is later than most other schools, and NFL rules forbid Patton from joining his squad until the school session has ended.

Patton became entangled in the NFL rules on April 29 when he bought a plane ticket from Nashville to San Francisco, rented a car and told the 49ers he was on his way to the team facility. Harbaugh had to call back and tell him to turn around - draft picks can visit their new teams 24 hours after they are drafted but otherwise can't arrive until the rookie minicamp, which began today with a morning walk-through.

Patton, meanwhile, missed his initial, 7 a.m. flight to San Francisco this week when he couldn't find his driver's license at the airport. Turns out it was buried deep in his luggage and he took another flight that afternoon.

"I was like 'Man, I tried to come out there early last time and now I can't even get out there this time,'" he said.

There are two quarterbacks at the 49ers' rookie minicamp, seventh-round pick B.J. Daniels and undrafted free agent Nate Montana, who was given a tryout by the 49ers. Joe's son said he also received a tryout invitation from the Bengals. But Cincinnati's minicamp also was this weekend, and Montana said he thought he had a better chance of catching on with San Francisco.

"I think the guys (quarterbacks) out there have a lot more experience - that's what me and my agent talked about," Montana said.

After starter Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers have Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien and Daniels at quarterback. The Bengals depth chart at the position: Andy Dalton, Josh Johnson, John Skelton and Zac Robinson.

Montana worked out for the 49ers before the draft last month. At the time, he said he was looking at the CFL and Arena League as possibilities. Montana said he's more optimistic now about catching on with an NFL team. "I don't know what will happen," Montana said. "It's up to coach Harbaugh. It will be an interesting road."

After the 49ers drafted Vance McDonald in the second round, Harbaugh suggested McDonald wear No. 89 - Mike Ditka's number when he played tight end for the Bears.

McDonald said he didn't know much about Ditka's background other than his reputation for toughness. McDonald acknowledged that was a gap in his resume at Rice where he played more wide receiver than he did in-line tight end.

"Being physical is definitely something I want to work on," he said. "Didn't get a lot of that in college. And you definitely have to be physical to play this game."

Harbaugh, meanwhile, said McDonald's size and strength reminded him of Ditka, which is why he suggested the number. Ditka was Harbaugh's coach with the Bears. "I texted coach," Harbaugh said. "I don't know if I have the right number - I didn't get a text back."

Step one for former British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye: Learn the verbiage. And not just the language that's in the playbook.

"There's a lot prep you have to do in the class before you get out on the pitch," Okoye said after his first-ever practice. He quickly smiled and corrected himself. "... on the field," he said.

Okoye had never practiced in a football uniform until this morning. He said he figured it would be an "up and down" process but is committed to succeeding at the unprecedented endeavor.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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