SANTA CLARA, Calif .– San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remembers what it was like to be the rookie apprentice.
Now that learning experience under Tom Brady with the New England Patriots will apparently shape his approach to working with newly drafted Niners quarterback Trey Lance.
Appearing on ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show, Garoppolo has spoken publicly for the first time since the 49ers placed No.3 in the NFL Draft and used that selection on Lance.
“The circle is complete,” Garoppolo said. “You go through that career in the NFL and you start out as a young man to come. Tom kind of showed me the ropes. The competition between us was great. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So, it’s kind of me and Trey, we’re going to shape our relationship into this. But it will happen naturally. It’s one of those things that you can’t force anything to do.
Garoppolo, 29, is actually not that far from being in a situation similar to what Lance is entering in San Francisco. Like Lance, Garoppolo came from an FCS (Eastern Illinois for Garoppolo, North Dakota State for Lance) school, joined a team with Super Bowl aspirations and had to learn under a veteran’s guidance before taking over.
Those memories linger for Garoppolo, who texted Lance shortly after the Niners drafted him.
“I try to use my own personal experiences and what I’ve been through, which has helped me, which has challenged me as a young player,” Garoppolo said. “I’m going to use these tools that have helped me and try to help Trey. It’s hard to get into this league; I know how it went from FCS school to NFL. It’s a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want to call it, it’s just different. So whatever I can do to help her, I will be more than happy. “
Of course, Garoppolo never got a chance to star in New England, which drafted him in the second round in 2014 and only gave him two starts before trading him to the 49ers for one. second round pick in 2017.
Garoppolo became the starter in San Francisco, where he set a 24-9 record as a starter (including the playoffs), but had two of the last three seasons destroyed by a torn ACL (he missed 13 games in 2018) and a pair of high ankle sprains (he missed 10 games in 2020).
Those injuries were the main reason Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch made the pick to get Lance this offseason, as the 49ers slumped to a combined 10-22 record over the course of those two seasons in which Garoppolo missed big chunks of time.
In January, Garoppolo admitted he had to find a way to stay healthy. But the 49ers quickly began to consider their quarterback options, a process that ultimately led them to Lance.
As Shanahan and Lynch have said, they stayed in touch with Garoppolo throughout the process.
“Communication has been good,” Garoppolo said. “There really wasn’t anything left unsaid. Everything was put on the table. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play football. In the end, that’s what I am for. here is what I signed. As long as I have the opportunity to win games and play good football, that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day … Everything what you really need is an opportunity. opportunity, you have to take advantage of it and that’s what I’m trying to do. “
After drafting Lance, Shanahan made it clear that there is no definitive timeline or plan for him to take the starting position and that he expects Garoppolo, who is expected to count 26.1 million dollars against the 2021 salary cap, stays with the team and continues as entry.
“I want Jimmy to be here, and I want this kid to be brought in,” Shanahan said Thursday. “I want to see how (Lance) does, and if it turns into competition, it turns into competition. I’d be excited about that if he showed he was up for that and all. But we know where Jimmy is. . ” (Lance) hasn’t played football for a year. He was not in an OTA. I would love to bring him out here, it would be very hard 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’ll play it by ear, but I expect Jimmy to be there and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. “
And although Garoppolo appears to be hosting the competition, he also admitted on Tuesday that he plans to continue to compete and fight to keep the job he has been given over the past three seasons.
“The chip will still be there,” Garoppolo said. “It hasn’t gone away at all. Since I got in the league I’ve had this. I think it comes from the way you were raised and everything in between. My dad was an electrician, blue collar worker. . and I think it kind of rubs off on you. It’s kind of how the league is going these days. Everyone’s young, wants to get the guy out of development and things like that, so I know what it is. I ” I’ve been on both sides now, but in the end, like I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity. you got this, you have to take advantage of it. “