SANTA CLARA, California – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remembers what it was like to be a rookie apprentice.
Now, the experience of Tom Brady with the New England Patriots will apparently shape his approach to working with newly drafted Niners quarterback Trey Lance.
Garoppolo appeared on the Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show on ESPN radio and spoke publicly for the first time since the 49ers traded up to No. 3 in the NFL draft and used that choice on Lance.
“It’s coming a little in full circle,” Garoppolo said. “You’re going through this NFL career and you start as a young guy coming in. Tom kind of showed me the ropes. The competition between us was amazing. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So it “is kind of what Trey and I want to shape our relationship with. But it will happen naturally. It̵
Garoppolo, 29, is actually not that far away from being in a similar situation as what Lance is getting into San Francisco. Like Lance, Garoppolo came from an FCS school (Eastern Illinois for Garoppolo, North Dakota State for Lance), joined a team with Super Bowl ambitions, and was expected to learn under a veteran before taking over.
These memories still linger in Garoppolo, who texted Lance shortly after Niner’s draft for him.
“I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I have been through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player,” Garoppolo said. “I want to use the tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It’s hard to get into this league. I know how it came from an FCS school to the NFL. It’s a bit of an adjustment, the speed, “whatever you want to call it, it’s just different. So what I can do to help him, I’ll be more than happy.”
Of course, Garoppolo never got the chance to step into the lead role in New England, which drafted him in the second round in 2014 and gave him only two starts before trading him to the 49ers for another round in 2017.
Garoppolo started in San Francisco, where he has broken a 24-9 record as a starter (including playoffs), but has had two of the last three seasons ruined by a torn ACL (he missed 13 games in 2018) and a pair high ankle sprains (he missed 10 games in 2020).
These injuries were the biggest reason Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took the step up to get Lance this offseason, as the 49ers fell to an overall 10-22 record in the two seasons in which Garoppolo missed big chunks of time.
In January, Garoppolo acknowledged that he needed to find a way to stay healthy. But the 49ers soon began exploring their quarterback opportunities, a process that eventually led them to Lance.
As Shanahan and Lynch have said, they maintained contact with Garoppolo throughout the process.
“The communication has been good,” Garoppolo said. “There really has been nothing unsaid. Everything has been put on the table. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play football. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m here for, that’s what I signed up for. As long as I have the opportunity to go out there and win some games and play good football, that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day … All you really need is an opportunity. get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it, and that’s what I’m trying to do. “
Following the drafting of Lance, Shanahan made it clear that there was no timetable or a final plan for him to take the starting job and that he expected Garoppolo, who is expected to count $ 26.1 million against the salary cap in 2021 , would remain with the team and continue as a starter.
“I want Jimmy to be here, and I want this child with me,” Shanahan said Thursday. “I want to see how (Lance) does it, and if it’s going to be a competition, it’s going to be a competition. I’d be excited about it if he showed he was ready for it and so on. But we know, where Jimmy is at. (Lance) has not played football in a year. He has not been in an OTA. I would love to get him out here, it would be very difficult for me to imagine a situation where Jimmy is not here on Sunday.Because it would be, I think, very stressful for us because Jimmy is a very good player and I think we can win with him.So we play it by ear, but I expect Jimmy is here and I would be surprised if he were not. “
And while Garoppolo appears to be welcoming the competition, he also acknowledged on Tuesday that he plans to continue competing and struggling to hang on to the job that has been his for the past three-plus seasons.
“The chip will always be there,” Garoppolo said. “It has not disappeared at all. Since I came into the league, I have had it. I think that kind of comes from just the way you were brought up and everything like that. My father was an electrician, a guy and I think it just throws off you. That’s how the league goes today. Everyone’s drawing young, wants the development guy and the like so I know a little bit what it is. but at the end of what I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity.