SANTA CLAU, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garopolo remembers what it was like to be a rookie intern.
Now, this experience in training Tom Brady with the New England Patriots will obviously shape his approach to working with the newly formed quarterback of Niners Trey Lance.
Appearing on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin, Garoppolo spoke publicly for the first time since the 49 traded to No. 3 in the NFL project and used that choice in the Lance.
“It’s a complete circle,” Garopolo said. “You go through this career in the NFL and you start as a young man coming in. Tom showed me the ropes. The race between us was great. It really made me grow up as a rookie and as a young player. So, that̵
In fact, the 29-year-old Garopolo is not that far from being in a situation like the one Lance enters San Francisco. Like Lance, Garoppolo comes from a school for FCS (Eastern Illinois for Garoppolo, North Dakota for Lance), joins a team with aspirations for the Super Bowl, and is expected to study under a veteran before taking office.
These memories still remain for Garoppolo, who sent a message to Lance shortly after the Niners picked him up.
“I try to use my own personal experience and exactly what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player,” Garopolo said. “I’m going to use those tools that helped me and I’m going to try to help Trey. It’s hard to get into this league; I know how it went from FCS to NFL school. It’s a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want it to be. call it, it’s just different. So whatever I do to help him, I’ll be more than happy. “
Of course, Garoppolo never got the chance to star in New England, which drafted him in the second round in 2014 and gave him only two starts before trading him with the 49ers for the second round in 2017.
Garopolo did become a starter in San Francisco, where he set a record 24-9 as a starter (including the playoffs), but two of the last three seasons were broken by a torn ACL (he missed 13 games in 2018) and a pair of high ankle sprains (he missed 10 games in 2020).
These injuries were the biggest reason Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch made the move to get Lance this season, as the 49 dropped to a combined record of 10-22 in those two seasons in which Garopolo missed big chunks of time.
In January, Garopolo admitted he needed to find a way to stay healthy. But the 49ers soon began looking into their quarterback options, a process that eventually led them to Lance.
As Shanahan and Lynch said, they kept in touch with Garopolo throughout the process.
“The communication was good,” Garopolo said. “There really was nothing unsaid. Everything is on the table. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play football. At the end of the day, that’s why I’m here, I signed it. While I have the opportunity to go out there and win some games and I play good football, that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day … All you really need is an opportunity. If you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it and that’s what I’m trying to do. “
Following the preparation of Lance, Shanahan has indicated that there is no schedule or final plan for him to take over the initial work and that he expects Garopolo, who is scheduled to count $ 26.1 million against the 2021 salary cap, to remain on the team. and continue as a starter.
“I want Jimmy to be here and I want this child brought in,” Shanahan said on Thursday. “I want to see how he’s doing (Lance) and if it turns into a race, it turns into a race. I’ll be happy if he shows he’s ready for that and stuff. But we know where Jimmy is.” (Lance) hasn’t played football in a year. He hasn’t been to OTA. I’d love to get him here, it’s going to be very difficult for me to imagine a situation where Jimmy isn’t here on Sunday. It’s very stressful for us because Jimmy is a very good player and I think we can win with him. So we’ll play this by ear, but I expect Jimmy to be here and I would be surprised if he wasn’t. “
And while Garoppolo seems to welcome the race, he also admitted on Tuesday that he plans to continue racing and fighting to continue the work that has been his for the past three seasons.
“The chip will always be there,” Garopolo said. “It’s not gone at all. I’ve had this since I joined the league. I think it comes from the way you were raised and all that. My father was an electrician, a man with a blue collar, and I think it just erases on This is the way the league is going nowadays, everyone is preparing young, they want to get a person for development and things like that, so I know what that is. I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity. Once you get it, you have to take advantage of it. “