Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo understands that competition is part of NFL life

May 6, 2021 at 10:27 AM--

When the San Francisco 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017, he was seen as the team's quarterback of the future. He was the player who would solidify the position — the most important in sports — for years to come.

Three years after signing a long-term deal with the team, the Niners drafted Garoppolo's eventual replacement. San Francisco made Trey Lance of North Dakota State the No. 3 overall pick last week.

Garoppolo remains in the 49ers' plans for the upcoming season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly stated that the veteran quarterback will be his starter for Week 1 while leaving the door cracked open for the rookie by saying anything is possible. For now, Garoppolo will be the man under center. However, behind him on the depth chart is an eager young quarterback also looking to make a name for himself.

"It's kind of the way the NFL is going now," Garoppolo said this week during an interview on KRON4. "It seems like every team is drafting a young guy to kind of develop and get ready for the league. That's just the trend that's going on right now.

"I sent Trey a text after he got drafted and congratulated him on everything. It's such a long road to get to the draft, and then you finally get drafted, and now it's a whirlwind from here."

Garoppolo is saying all the right things. He is open to mentoring Lance, who will be asked to learn Shanahan's complex but creative offense, and eventually take over for the high-priced veteran. Garoppolo understands that with competition comes the opportunity for success. He went through it during his time in New England.

"It's never a looking-over-your-shoulder-type of thing," Garoppolo said. "Going into every training camp, you're in a quarterback room with three, four different quarterbacks. And that competition, if you're in a good room, that competition will always be (there).

"It was me, Tom (Brady), and Jacoby (Brissett) back in New England. The three of us would compete with each other day in and day out. It made us all better. We all have succeeded since then and gone to different places. That's kind of just the NFL life. You've got to make the best of your opportunities."

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