The 49ers are desperate — desperate! — for a starting quarterback. So when it comes to Matthew Stafford, perhaps the closest thing to can’t miss QB in this year’s draft, why does it seem like they’re doing everything they can to come up with an excuse to not take him?
From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED comes a look inside the combine, and San Francisco’s team psychologist’s meeting with Stafford. The word out of 49er camp is that he was too reticent to talk about his parents’ divorce. But can you really blame a 21-year-old kid for not wanting to discuss his personal issues with someone he’s known for a matter of minutes?
Stafford revealed to Peter King that during an interview at the NFL combine, the 49ers team psychologist pressed him on the subject of the divorce of Stafford’s parents when the quarterback was in high school. Stafford says he assured the shrink he’d adjusted well, only to be told he “sounded if he might have unfinished business.”
Niners head coach Mike Singletary all but dismissed the possibility of drafting Stafford in a radio interview with KNBR in San Francisco. “If you’re going to look at drafting a guy in the first round,” he told host Ralph Barbieri, “and you’re going to pay him millions of dollars, and asking him about a divorce about his parents, if that’s going to be an issue, then you know what? Maybe he doesn’t belong here.”
Really? Stafford’s got a rocket of an arm, a great mind for managing the game, and has a good shot at being the best Bay Area QB since Steve Young. And you’re going to dismiss him out of hand because he didn’t have a good cry with someone he never met over a painful recent memory?
Psych evals are valuable for NFL teams, no one denies this. But the most they should be able to do is weed out the Travis Henrys of the world. Stafford’s not going to turn to a life of crime because of unfinished business with his parents’ divorce, and it’s not going to make him a worse quarterback.
Five years from now, when the 49ers are still terrible and asking why, I hope they’ll remember this.