If Quinton Patton ever needs extra motivation, all the rookie wideout needs to do is look down at the black bracelet on his right wrist.
"Compete like a champion... No excuses," is written in white letters on a thick black rubber band.
Patton, the San Francisco 49ers first of two fourth-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, still wears the bracelet he exchanged last season with a friend on the Louisiana Tech women's basketball team.
Patton, the 6-foot, 204-pound wide receiver, liked the message on the bracelet so much, he kept it on for his entire senior season. It was a a year where he caught 104 passes for 1,392 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on his way to earning WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Patton remains focused on competing as he enters his first training camp in the National Football League. It's nothing new to the former junior college football standout at Coffeyville Community College. Patton worked his way to Louisiana Tech where he caught 24 touchdown passes in two seasons and was named a team captain in 2012.
"Competition is great," Patton said. "Every receiver here is a great player, so the competition is going to be fierce throughout."
The rookie wideout is one of several candidates in the mix to line up as the team's No. 2 wide receiver opposite of Anquan Boldin.
Patton is taking the positon battle seriously. The former first-team All-WAC honoree reunited during his time away from 49ers headquarters by visiting with his college coach Sonny Dykes . Dykes invited Patton to work out at the University of California during the month of July. There, Patton focused on improving his strength and conditioning under the watch of his former strength coach at Louisiana Tech who joined Dykes' staff at Cal.
With better conditioning, Patton believes he can spark the 49ers in his first season. Asked about his goals for 2013, the rookie wideout didn't make any bold proclamations.
"Just to make a direct impact on the season no matter where I'm at, special teams, offense, it doesn't matter where I'm at," he said.
To make that impact, Patton has made sure to ask every and any question he can think of when he's around quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Patton is wise to get on the same page with San Francisco's starting signal-caller.
"He's the quarterback and he knows what everybody does," Patton said. "If I can get open for him, I'll get on the field fast."
But before that can happen, Patton must compete like a champion. He'll get that chance when training camp practices begin on Thursday.
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