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Cody Pickett calls being a backup quarterback who has yet to see any action for the worst team in the NFL — the San Francisco 49ers — a “great situation.”

Those who knew Pickett when he played at Washington — where he set 35 school records but was rarely known for saying anything controversial — wouldn’t be surprised.

They might be surprised, however, to hear Pickett finally admit that he was, in fact, playing hurt his senior year at UW, bothered by a pectoral muscle pull that he suffered the second game of the season and never really got over.

“I played it off because it’s part of the game,” said Pickett, when asked why he always maintained during his senior season that he was fine. “If you are a quarterback, you are going to get banged up. Maybe some people wouldn’t have played with it or whatever. But I felt like I was still going to be able to go out there and perform at a pretty high level.”

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Still, he now cites the injury as one reason the Huskies “underachieved” in 2003, when they finished 6-6 during a rocky campaign that also saw a change in coaches from Rick Neuheisel to Keith Gilbertson. He also thinks the injury, and the impact it had on his play as a senior, was a reason he fell to the seventh round of the draft, where he was selected by the 49ers and coach Dennis Erickson, who knew Pickett well from his coaching days at Oregon State.

“It was definitely disappointing,” Pickett says of being drafted so low. But he also says he’s happy he was selected by the 49ers and that he likes playing for Erickson.

He has spent most of the season as the No. 3 quarterback but moved up to No. 2 when Tim Rattay was injured. Still, heading into the last two weeks of the season, he had yet to get on the field.

“It’s kind of like the way I came into Washington,” Pickett said. “I had high hopes and everything and I ended up sitting behind Marques (Tuiasosopo, for two years). It’s the same thing here. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and trying to get better every day.”

Bob Condotta