The Rattay Interview, Part III

In the final installment of a three-part interview with SFI, 49ers quarterback Tim Rattay discusses the importance of the early tutelage he received after joining the Niners; his low-key character and humble nature; the temperament he takes with him onto the field; and whether he's ready to become household name as a starting NFL quarterback.

Q: Many projections had you going higher than the seventh round of the 2000 NFL draft, but being picked then by the Niners has ultimately worked out pretty well for you, hasn't it?

Rattay: It was disappointing going in the seventh round, but I'm really glad I ended up here. That was a blessing in disguise right there. Coach Knapp (Greg Knapp, 49ers quarterbacks coach at the time Rattay was drafted) pounded and grinded us. He made sure and grinded us and grinded us. It was good timing for me that he was still the quarterbacks coach when I got here (Knapp later became 49ers offensive coordinator). It helped to have him that first year, when you're a rookie and still building your blocks, to have a guy like that to come in and really get you going. It was really, really key for me. Luckily, it was good situation for that I came into.

Q: You're often referred to as being a low-key individual. Do you feel that's accurate?

Rattay: I think so, yeah. I'm not, like, a loud guy or anything. In games, obviously, situations come up where I'm going to get worked up and get into it. But I'm just a normal person, yeah, I'm not real loud or stuff like that. I'm not going to yell a lot or whatever. I 'm just going to try to work as hard as I can and come in here and show up. We've got a lot of great leaders on this team, a lot of guys that will do that role.

Q: Can that kind of even-keel temperament help you as a quarterback?

Rattay: It all depends. I think it works great for some people. I don't think there's one way. I love watching Brett Favre play, the way he gets excited. You can tell he enjoys playing football. But for me, I just think it's better for me to not get real high on the highs and not get real low on the lows. You throw a touchdown in the first quarter, well, we still have a lot of game left, you don't want to get all worked up and think that you've got them (opponents) figured out, you know what I mean? It's the same thing when you throw a pick. You've got to let it go. So, for me, it works. It's different for everybody.

Q: But some of your teammates have said they can see fire in your eyes in the huddle. Are you feeling that out there on the field, too?

Rattay: You've got to be calm. But I'm going inside. And you're competing inside, too. But to be able to stay calm, especially in certain situations when you need to do that, that's important. It's just kind of, how the game goes determines how you go. But I think you need some fire and you've got to have the guys in the huddle know that you're ready to go and into it.

Q: Is it accurate to say you might have a little more humility than most starting quarterbacks in the NFL?

Rattay: Well, it's a team game. You cant do anything - you can't throw a pass - without those guys who are blocking for you. A receiver cant do anything unless the line blocks and the quarterback throws him the ball. That's just a team game. If your defense doesn't stop the other guy, you can't win. That's the way you have to look at it, and that's the way it should be. It's a team deal, everybody has an equal part in it. If one guy doesn't do his job, then it doesn't work. So that's the beauty of it. That's how I was raised to play the game. And that's how it should be. It's a team deal.

Q: That said, considering the position you play, are you ready to be a household name as a starting NFL quarterback?

Rattay: I'm just ready to play, really. I'm not worried about that. I don't really care about that. I'm just itching to get in there, really. Especially now. I'm just itching to get out there and play. Because that's why it's fun. That's why you put all your work in to those 16-plus games, just to go out there and play. And now that it's almost here, I'm really excited to get going and get out there.

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