Why Grant Cohn Loves the Idea of Nick Mullens

Grant Cohn

The other day I went to my parents' house for dinner and my dad asked what Nick Mullens is like.

I said I don't really know him that well. I know his grandfather, Larry, because he always watches my periscopes. When I see Nick in the locker room -- which the media no longer has access to -- we say hello to each other. He knows my name. We're not friends.

But I love the idea of Nick Mullens.

The players I cover all live the American dream. But most of them were identified as football prodigies at 13 or 14-years old and have been on a superstar track most people can't relate to. 

To borrow a phrase from William Shakespeare, who can relate to having "greatest thrust upon you" in the eighth grade?

So when I see Mullens in the 49ers locker room, I see a guy who looks like a regular guy. Not someone who has been recruited and coddled since middle school.

And he's not supposed to be in the 49ers locker room. He was an undrafted free agent. He willed himself there. So there must be something so special about him that has nothing to do with his athletic gifts. Because his athletic gifts weren't special enough for him to get drafted. And here he is anyway.

It's like Mullens won the lottery, but better. He won it through self confidence and persistence and hard work. He didn't hang out in the locker room and play ping pong. He essentially developed himself as a quarterback while he played free safety on the practice squad.

Mullens is every man. He's on the field and in the pocket for us. So when he plays, hell yes I root for him.

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