By Gary Lloyd
What was former Clay-Chalkville and University of Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial doing during April’s NFL Draft, in which he was selected in the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers?
He was at home in Clay, playing on Facebook.
“Just checking out the news feed seeing what people were talking about,” said Dial, who spent Monday and Tuesday at NorthPark Baptist Church, signing autographs as part of a fundraiser for a local family.
While scrolling the news feed, his phone rang. It was San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.
“He said, ‘Are you ready to be a 49er?’ I was like, ‘Heck yeah,’” Dial said.
Dial left for San Francisco two weeks later and has spent the last two months there, working out, watching film and learning the playbook. He was unable to participate in rookie minicamp and organized team activities due to a left toe injury he had surgically repaired in January.
Dial returns to San Francisco next Friday for team camp, but he will rehab his toe and work out since he is not yet cleared for team activity.
“I’ll be there, soaking it all in, taking advantage of the opportunity I have, learn from the older guys that are there,” he said.
Dial in May signed a four-year, $2.34 million deal with the 49ers. He said it hasn’t yet hit him that he’s an NFL player, though he said he can’t just “hop in the car and go down the road like I did in Tuscaloosa.”
“It’s quite a bit of an adjustment,” he said.
Dial said while he rehabs his injury, he is working to get better mentally by learning the playbook and watching film. He hopes to translate that knowledge to the field when he’s cleared to play.
“Hopefully when I get back I’ll put two and two together,” he said.
Dial, a 2009 Clay-Chalkville High School graduate, played in 14 games last season for Alabama and recorded 22 tackles, five tackles for loss, four quarterback pressures and one sack. Dial played in 25 games over the last two seasons, both national championship seasons for the Crimson Tide.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.