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Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports


‘It’s kind of coming full circle’: Jimmy Garoppolo discusses 49ers drafting Trey Lance

May 4, 2021 at 7:44 AM--


Jimmy Garoppolo spoke publicly for the first time since the San Francisco 49ers traded up to draft his eventual replacement, Trey Lance. In fact, it was the first time he's spoken publicly since January. The quarterback appeared on ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show, sharing that he will do what is expected of him, mentoring his new teammate.

Garoppolo also knows that he needs to be ready to compete, though, noting this situation's similarities to that of the one he went through in New England with Tom Brady. Although, the roles are now reversed.

"It's kind of coming full circle," Garoppolo said via ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "You go 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 awesome. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So, that's kind of what me and Trey, we'll mold our relationship into that. But it will happen naturally. It's one of those things you can't force anything. Just let it come as it may."

Lance noted that Garoppolo was the first 49ers player to reach out via text message and welcome him to the team after the North Dakota State star received a call on draft night from general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"All I've heard are just awesome things about the type of person he is, and obviously, what he does on the field kind of speaks for itself," Lance said last week of Garoppolo. "But it meant the world to me and my family, especially, that he reached out to me and sent that message. It was really encouraging for me just to know that we'll be able to have an awesome relationship. And I just told him I'm super excited to learn from him."

Said Garoppolo: "I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player. I'm going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It's hard to come into this league. I know how it was coming 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, whatever I can do to help, him I'll be more than happy."

Lynch and Shanahan have been clear in explaining what led them to look into drafting a quarterback. They believe in Garoppolo's ability. The quarterback is 24-9 as a starter, including the playoffs, and helped guide the team to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2019 season. However, his durability has become a question mark. Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the past three seasons, including missing 10 games last season due to ankle injuries.

San Francisco, coming off the Super Bowl appearance, ended up finishing with just six wins. The 49ers don't want to be in that situation again and started planning for the future.

"The communication has been good," Garoppolo said. "There really hasn't been anything 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. If you get an opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it, and that's what I'm trying to do."

While he will do what he can to bring Lance along, Garoppolo plans to compete and hold onto the starting job as long as possible.

"The chip will always be there," Garoppolo said. "That hasn't gone away at all. Since I got in the league, I've had that. I think that kind of comes from just the way you were raised and everything like that. My dad was an electrician, blue-collar guy, and I think it kind of just rubs off on you. It's kind of the way the league is going nowadays. Everybody is drafting young, wants to get the developmental guy and things like that, so I kind of know what it is. I've been on both sides of it now, but at the end of the, like I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity. Once you get that, you've got to take advantage of it."

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