Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

‘It’s an emotional game’: Jimmy Garoppolo woke up fast in return as 49ers starter

Sep 18, 2022 at 6:17 PM--

Before kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks, Jimmy Garoppolo felt he was ready if his number got called. Remember, the veteran quarterback spent most of the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery and didn't participate in team meetings or even have a playbook until signing a restructured one-year deal just before the start of the regular season.

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers did call Garoppolo's number. The quarterback entered the game late in the first quarter due to a devastating and heartbreaking injury to second-year quarterback Trey Lance, who will undergo season-ending surgery on his broken ankle on Monday.

"Right away, I felt sorry for Trey," Garoppolo told FOX Sports before leaving the field after the game. "That sucks. I've been on that side of it. It's tough."

Garoppolo was anxious to check on Lance. The two have formed a friendship since the 49ers made Lance the No. 3 overall draft pick last year. Now, it is Garoppolo's team moving forward. It didn't take long for him to get used to being back in an NFL game.

"Once I got in there, the first play, I got smoked, so it kind of woke me up quick, and the rest is just football," he said.

Garoppolo has been the 49ers' starter for the past four-and-a-half seasons, so he is pretty comfortable with the offense. What he lacked this offseason were reps. Because he was the team's backup quarterback, he didn't even get many practice reps over the past couple of weeks. So Sunday was the quarterback's first real action since last season's NFC Championship Game.

"There were a couple of plays that were the first time [for me] out there, but Kyle and me got a good relationship," Garoppolo said. "He knows what I like and don't like. Just guys were making plays today. It was just getting the ball in the playmakers' hands, and they do the rest."

Garoppolo is used to the rollercoaster ride that is the NFL. He served as a backup for years in New England, then was the starter in San Francisco, and returned this season as a backup. Despite the circumstances surrounding how it happened, Garoppolo sounds excited to play again.

"It's an emotional game," Garoppolo admits. "You've got to play with passion. You've got to come out here every day. You've just got to love it, man, and I do. This whole team does. The Faithful were rocking today. It was a hell of a time at Levi's [Stadium]."


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