We’ll depart from our conversation with former Jets scout Joe Bommarito today to tell a story from longtime 49ers scout Oscar Lofton, who covered the West Coast for the team from the mid-90s until 2007.
In 2002, the Niners were coming off a 12-4 season that ended in the wildcard round against Green Bay. The team was stocked with offensive stars, including WO Terrell Owens, QB Jeff Garcia and RB Garrison Hearst. The team also had a solid offensive line as well, and started Eric Johnson, primarily a pass-catcher, at tight end.
That year, they chose No. 27 in the first round, selecting cornerback Mike Rumph. However, in an effort to vet all the players in the draft, they interviewed Miami (Fla.) TE Jeremy Shockey at the combine. Oscar was part of the team that talked to him. He said Shockey didn’t pull any punches during his interview session.
“I did the Shockey kid when he was coming out, and I said, he came in and he said, ‘I’m gonna be the best in the league, and I’m gonna dominate,’ and all this stuff, and I’m saying to myself, he’s a little too cocky for me. I need to get our tight ends coach to talk to him.
“He was really kind of full of himself, and kind of rubbed me the wrong way, so I knew that we needed to get probably (49ers team psychiatrist Dr. Harry) Edwards to talk to him, too, and find out psychologically. Doc would sit in on our interviews and everything, and he was pretty good about drawing conclusions. And I said, we need to spend some more time with him, and we did.”
That’s Oscar’s polite way of saying he was a real jerk.
I find it interesting that Shockey didn’t try to take anything off his fastball for the purposes of making an impression with what was, at the time, one of the most successful franchises in the league. For what it’s worth, Shockey was who he was, if nothing else.