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Harbaugh 'Excited' to Work with John Skelton

Posted Oct 2, 2013

John Skelton is eager to work with Jim Harbaugh and the feeling is mutual.

Sometimes all it takes is an injury in Nashville to set off a chain of events in the Bay Area.

That’s what happened with the 49ers quarterback depth chart this week.

When Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker was injured in a Week 4 win over the New York Jets, John Skelton was called into Nashville to audition for the Titans to be a potential reserve signal-caller.

Skelton didn’t receive a contract offer from Tennessee, but it didn’t take long for him to receive another call from the San Francisco 49ers.

Skelton, a fourth-year pro who was released in the Cincinnati Bengals’ final roster cuts, was signed by the 49ers on Wednesday. Skelton had worked out for San Francisco’s football brain trust last month and was told to stay ready for a potential opportunity after he impressed in his workout.

According to Skelton, the visit to Tennessee caught the attention of the 49ers front office.

“I think as soon as people here caught wind of that, they flew me back out,” Skelton said in front of his new locker in Santa Clara.

Coincidentally, Skelton took the locker and roster spot of seventh-round draft pick B.J. Daniels. The 49ers had plans of keeping Daniels on the practice squad, but the athletic quarterback was claimed by the Seattle Seahawks.


Skelton’s arm-strength and experience made him an attractive addition to the roster, according to Jim Harbaugh.

“I felt like that’s what we needed from that third quarterback spot right now,” the 49ers coach said.

Skelton said he was “super pumped” to have a chance to work with Harbaugh, a well-known quarterback guru. 

“I think his track record on working with quarterbacks speaks for itself,” said Skelton, who has started 17 games in three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. “I’m really looking forward to that.”

Skelton’s arm talent was a key in the 49ers decision to sign another veteran quarterback behind Colin Kaepernick and Colt McCoy.

“I’m excited to work with him and that’s really what it amounts to,” Harbaugh said. “Three quarterbacks that all have played in games and been in the fire and now we have three at our disposal. We have a great starter and two guys now, two guys to backup that have been in those games.”

Skelton is currently No. 3 on the quarterback depth chart, but is solely focused on learning the 49ers playbook before he can compete with McCoy to be the team's backup. Skelton does have one thing in his favor - he has familiarity from facing San Francisco during his time in Arizona. For now, the focus is getting adapted to his new team.

Skelton relayed the biggest tip he received on his first day with San Francisco. It came from 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst.

“Geep put it best, ‘We’re in the middle of a book right now, you’ve just got to hop in. You’re not starting from the beginning,’” Skelton shared.

“I’ll play catch-up, but I’ll get there.”


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