Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers punter Bradley Pinion was on "TNF First Look" on Thursday and discussed his new quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. While Pinion was impressed with how Garoppolo performed in practices before becoming the 49ers' starting quarterback, he is even more impressed with how it transferred to live games.

"You have expectations for guys," Pinions said. "Seeing the way he held himself at practice, you had a feeling. But to see him transfer it over to the games and do the same thing, it feels really good. There's a great feeling in this locker room right now with Jimmy leading the way."

Of course, Gaoppolo's presence and the offense's improvement has made game days easier for Pinion, who punted the football six-or-more times in seven games before Garoppolo's first start. Pinion punted twice against the Chicago Bears two weeks ago and then five times this past Sunday against the Houston Texans.

"He's awesome," Pinion said. "He's a leader on the field and off the field. He makes my life easy. I don't have to punt very often. I'll just sit back there and kick kickoffs and hold the field goals for Robbie [Gould]. It's an easy life for me. He came in and really made a difference. I mean, he's strong on the field, and you can just see it. And watching it here, it's something special."

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Pinion was on the NFL Network show to discuss his nomination for the 2017 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, an award given annually to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community involvement.

"It's a great honor and it's something that I pride myself in is my work off the field," Pinion said. "Just being nominated is something special to me."

The 32 nominees for the award will be pared down to three finalists, which will be announced on January 21. The winner will be announced in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the seventh annual NFL Honors awards show on February 3.

You can watch the entire interview with Pinion below.

San Francisco 49ers punter Bradley Pinion: Jimmy Garoppolo 'makes my life easy' because I don't have to punt very often