The Mercury News

Shaw shrugs at advocacy by Saints’ Payton

- Ky earold dutmann

After New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton bemoaned the “disturbing” lack of Black coaches in the NFL last month, he offered a solution — teams should hire Stanford coach David Shaw.

Shaw hadn’t talked to Payton in more than a year, but he heard the quotes from his wife, Kori.

“She said, ‘Do you have a new agent?’ ” Shaw said Wednesday. “I said, ‘No, we would have talked about that.’ She said, ‘Oh I was wondering if Sean became your agent,’ and she showed me what he said and I just started laughing.’

“I’ve told the team (at Stanford) repeatedly that when my name comes up in those NFL

circles it’s just because of how well our guys play and how they represent the football program at Stanford University,” Shaw said.

Shaw, who just completed his 10th season at Stanford, said he appreciate­d Payton being outspoken in support of more diverse hiring.

This offseason, none of the five NFL head coaching hires were Black. There are still open positions in Houston and Philadelph­ia, where Shaw and Payton were assistant coaches together in 1997.

“There are a lot of guys out there that look like me that can do a good job,” Shaw said. “And it’s up to all of us to continue to identify them and prepare them and support them and put them in position to get those jobs.”

QB COMPETITIO­N >> With Davis Mills going pro, the biggest position battle this offseason will be at quarterbac­k.

The top candidates are sophomore Tanner McKee, an Army All-American Game selection from Riverside County, and senior Jack West, a four-star recruit from Alabama. West was 13 of 19 for 154 yards and McKee was 3 of 7 for 62 yards in last season’s

opener at Oregon, when Mills was unexpected­ly sidelined right before the game due to a faulty COVID-19 test.

Shaw expects the competitio­n won’t be decided in the spring and will go through training camp.

Receivers Connor Wedington and Simi Fehoko, offensive linemen Drew Dalman and Foster Sarell, linebacker Curtis Robinson, safety Malik Antoine and tight end Scooter Harrington have joined Mills in declaring for the NFL draft.

NO REGRETS >> While the seniors in particular may be disappoint­ed they never got to participat­e in a normal final season, Shaw said

they may look back and realize what they did experience was even better.

“They have one of the more remarkable experience­s in the history of Stanford football,” Shaw said. “To perform at such a high level with all that was going on, it’s a memory that I think they’ll cherish forever.”

Stanford ended on a four-game winning streak that started with a Big Game victory and ended with a double-overtime win at UCLA, despite spending the final 19 days of the season in Washington, Oregon, and Southern California due to COVID-19 protocols in Santa Clara County.

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