I got to know Marcus Lattimore pretty well when I covered him with the San Francisco 49ers in 2013-14.
I even traveled to South Carolina to do a profile on this special player and person. I respect Lattimore greatly.
He was a legendary running back at South Carolina and is revered in the state. He recently left his position as the director of player development at South Carolina, where his primary role was to be an ear and mentor to players in the Gamecocks’ program.
Lattimore is the perfect person to talk to about any player in the program so I reached out to him to get a better feel for Raiders’ third-round pick, receiver Bryan Edwards.
Wow. I’m glad I did.
Lattimore couldn’t stop praising Edwards as a player and as a person.
“Bryan really didn’t have to be talked to,” Lattimore said. “I think I learned more from him than he learned from me.”
Lattimore brought up Arizona Cardinals’ star wide reciever Larry Fitzgerald when talking about Edwards. While he was careful not to compare a rookie to a future Hall of Famer, he said he knows both men and Edwards has Fitzgerald-like traits on and off the field. Fitzgerald is known as one of the most philanthropic people in football and was named co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award (with Eli Manning) in 2017.
I mentioned to Lattimore that the Raiders are trying to add young players who will be able to handle living in Las Vegas, i.e. they are are looking for mature people who won’t be lured by Sin City.
“He will be the poster child for that,” Lattimore said of Edwards. “Bryan will have no problem living a disciplined lifestyle there.”
On the field, Lattimore said the Raiders are getting a player with an incredible will to win
“He’s a great player in the crunch,” Lattimore said. “We always got him the ball when we needed a play. That wasn’t because of his strength and speed, and he has those things, but it was because of his pure desire and will to win … He has an incredible ability to break tackles. It’s all because of who he is as an athlete and as a person. The Raiders are getting a special player and person.”
Coming from a guy like Marcus Lattimore, that is high praise, indeed.