Pickett pickings

Niners rookie quarterback Cody Pickett talks about his professional debut against Oakland, his injury in college, slipping to the seventh round of the NFL draft, and his past and future as a rodeo star, among other things.

Q: When you were forced to miss the team's June minicamps because of an NFL rule, what did you do to try to make up for the lost time?

Pickett: I went back home. I worked out at my house and stayed in shape, wishing I could be here. When I was finally able to come everyone was gone for vacation.

Q: That didn't seem to hurt you much in your pro debut last week against the Raiders. What was that experience like?

Pickett: I had too many other things to think about besides the fact that I was playing Oakland in a NFL game. I was just trying to remember the whole play call in the huddle. But after the first play, it's just like playing football again, going through reads and getting the plays out of my mouth. I felt good.

Q: Since you weren't taken until the seventh round of the draft, do you have extra incentive now to beat teams that passed you over?

Pickett: I can't worry about that. That's over a long time ago. That got me when it happened but I'm in a great spot and I wouldn't pick any other place to be. I'm not just saying that either. I have great guys ahead of me and coaches have been great to me. Going where I went, late and everything, it happens for a reason and it's working out right now.

Q: How bad was your injury as a senior last year at Washington?

Pickett: I tore my pectoral in the second game of the season last year. It was against Indiana. I didn't miss any time, though. I just kind of went through the season. We had guys that were banged up all over. My offensive line was banged up. We were down to a freshman running back. We had young guys playing, same with receiver. We had Reggie Williams and Charles Fredrick, but after that we had true freshmen. Our season didn't really go the way we wanted it to go.

Q: Did the injury impact your season?

Pickett: I don't know. I would never use the injury as an excuse. We were banged up all over. We just didn't win when we were supposed to win. If you look at the Pac-10 schedule, we beat some teams that we were underdogs to, except for USC, and the teams that we were supposed to beat we couldn't get it done.

Q: What was your reaction to lasting until the seventh round of the draft?

Pickett: Going in the seventh round was a total shock to me. I was sitting there thinking, 'Man, guys are forgetting that I'm in the draft.' That was my feeling. With all the hype during my junior year, if I would have left then, 'This would have happened or that would have happened'. But no, I wanted to stay and help my team win because we were projected to be good and I thought we were going to be good. It was a disappointing season, but like I said, it all happens for a reason and I'm happy with where I'm at.

Q: Where were you projected to go after your junior year?

Pickett: I don't know. I was projected to go a lot higher than I was this year. Who knows, I might have left early and went in the seventh round then, too. They told me the end of the first, or early second. This year it was later. And look where I went.

Q: On another subject, are you hesitant at all to talk about being a former rodeo champion?

Pickett: No, I figured I'd talk about it again coming to a new place. No, it's fine. It's what I grew up with. It's been around me my whole life and one of these days I'll go back to doing. I haven't been on a horse in five years. It takes a lot of time and dedication if you want to be good. Like we come out and practice football everyday. If you want to rope, well, you have to practice everyday. I don't want to tease myself with it. If I'm going to do it then I'm going to do it. Right now I don't have time for it. There are things that can happen. You can get your hand caught in a dally, but you can also get hit by a car on the freeway. Your horse can fall down but you can drive too fast and your car can roll over.

Q: Are there a lot of similarities between rodeo and football?

Pickett: Oh yeah, there are certain competitive things. They both take a lot of time and dedication. It's a very challenging sport.

Q: Which would you chose if you had to pick between the two?

Pickett: I'm here, aren't I? I'd be playing football. I like to do both but you only get one chance to play football so I'm trying to take advantage of this opportunity. Like I said, one of these days I'll go back to Idaho and start roping a little bit.

Q: You'll do that competitively?

Pickett: Yeah, I'll try. The guys that do rodeo for a living are good. I'm confident that I could go back there and do well but it's not going to be something that I can do real quick. I think I could, because I did it growing up and I grew up with the guys that did it for a living.

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