Shaun Hill: The exit interview

Shaun Hill was an undrafted quarterback whose four-year career with the Vikings consisted of two kneel-downs at the conclusion of a blowout in the 2005 season finale.


He went another full season with the 49ers without taking a snap. But toward the end of the 2007 season, he made the most of his chances.


PosShaun.jpgDespite playing with a badly mangled index finger on his throwing hand, Hill set an NFL record when he completed 22 of 27 passes after entering a game for injured Trent Dilfer. His 81.5 completion percentage in that Dec. 9 game against, coincidentally, the Vikings is the highest in NFL history for a quarterback attempting his first regular-season pass attempts.


Hill did just about everything asked of him during his four seasons with the 49ers. His time with the 49ers came to an end today when he received a call from the Detroit Lions to inform him he had been acquired in a trade from the 49ers.


The 49ers parted ways with Hill after they signed David Carr to a two-year contract. I spoke with Hill today after he learned, officially, he was no longer a member of the 49ers.

* * *


Q: Did this catch you by surprise?

SH: “After the signing of David, I knew I wanted something to happen sooner than later. So I’m very excited about the opportunity to go to Detroit.”


Q: Before the signing of Carr, did you think there was a chance the 49ers might try to go out and get a different backup quarterback?

SH: “Yes. There’s always that chance, so I knew there was always a possibility. But that’s just the way the league works. I can’t be more thrilled than I am that I’m going to Detroit and I’ll get reunited with Scott Linehan.” (Linehan, the Lions’ offensive coordinator, was the coordinator for three of Hill’s four seasons with the Vikings.)


Q: Looking back on your time with the 49ers, how do you view those seasons?

SH: “My time in San Francisco was very positive. I made a lot of great friends there. There are a lot of guys I’m going to miss in that locker room. I had some good times on the field, as well.”


Q: Is that the worst part, knowing you won’t be reporting to work every day along with those guys?

SH: “Yeah, yeah. There are a lot of guys I met who will hopefully be life-long friends. I’ve said it before. That locker room is full of great guys. They’ll be missed. As far as football goes, I couldn’t be happier to get a fresh start and to be in Detroit with a few guys there I know and played with. Bryant Johnson and Nate Burleson are two receivers I’m familiar with. Also, I know Scott Linehan, the offensive coordinator, and Todd Downing, the quarterbacks coach. I’m just very excited to be working with those guys again. And I’m also excited about joining the rest of the team.”


Q: I’m sure you’ve talked to Alex Smith. How difficult will it be to not be on the same team with him anymore?

SH: “Yeah, yeah, it’s tough. But he’s easy to get along with. The people who will be in that room will have a good relationship with him, as well. And I feel where I’m going, I’ll have a relationship with those guys, too. We’ll be all right. We’ll still get together in the offseason and have a good time.”


Q: When you were the starting quarterback of the 49ers, the team had a 10-6 record. In those same seasons, when you weren’t starting, the team was 10-22. Does that give you a lot of pride knowing the team played well when you were on the field?

SH: “Yeah, no question. I feel like every time I was on the field, everybody around me really stepped up and played well. And we were able to put together a pretty decent record. I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s just unfortunate that it wasn’t enough. Like I said, I’m excited to get a fresh start.”


Q: How did you feel you fit into Jimmy Raye’s offense?

SH: “Oh, I don’t know. I’m going to leave all that alone. I did what they asked me to do.”


Q: The win-loss record was very good. But did all the talk about, ‘Oh, he didn’t have this’ or ‘He didn’t have that,’ did that wear on you?

SH: “If people wanted to do that, they could find things about every single player. Every player, top to bottom in the league. With that said, the only thing you can look at is wins and losses. Unfortunately people don’t. That’s the world we live in. That’s OK. I know that. I’m fine with that.”


Q: How will the experiences of the quarterback competitions of 2008 and 2009 help you in your new role?

SH: “I don’t know if it’ll necessarily help me. I never approached it any different than I ever approached any type of practice. I don’t see anything changing because of the things we were put through the last two years. I don’t think I developed any more or any less because of that.”


Q: Did you feel as if you had a lot of fan support from 49ers fans?

SH: “Yeah, I felt that. No matter what, some people are going to love you and some people are going to hate you. Some people are going to be in the middle. That comes with the territory. By and large, I felt like I had a very good backing there and I appreciate those who backed me.”


Q: What do you know about Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Have you had a chance to talk to him?

SH: “I have not had a chance to talk to him, yet. I have an early flight there tomorrow, so I’ll be there around 9 in the morning. I’ll get to go through most of the day with him after I get the physical. I’m excited to get to work out there. I really don’t know a whole lot about him. I watched him play a little bit last year, but not a ton. I know he’s a strong-armed kid with a lot of ability. I know we have some very talented receivers, and I’m very excited to get to work with everybody.”


Q: Did Scott Linehan tell you what would be expected of you when you get in there?

SH: “Not in so many words. Scott knows the kind of guy I am. I don’t think he feels like he needs to lay that out for me. He knows that I know what’s expected.”


Q: How did you find out about the trade?

SH: “You and Matt Barrows. . . . I decided to check the Internet to see what was going on. That’s when I found out.”


Q: Who was the first person officially to call you?

SH: “I talked to my agent yesterday and everything was still unofficial at that time. And to this point in the day I still have not heard anything from San Francisco. I have heard officially from Detroit.”


Q: Do you feel like there are loose ends to tie up with the 49ers?

SH: “I’m just excited to get started with Detroit. They don’t owe me a call or anything like that. I’ve talked to the majority of the people in that organization I wanted to talk to before I left. That’s totally fine by me. I don’t think there are any loose ends that need tied up. I think there’s a mutual respect between them and myself. It’s time to move on.”


Q: Overall, how did you feel about the way things went down?

SH: “I’m excited about it, to be honest with you. I don’t feel any ill will or anything like that. I’m just excited to move on – I truly am.”


* * *

Posted in Q&A

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *