Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ve got a chance at a Super Bowl”: Jimmy Garoppolo feeling fortunate to still be with 49ers

Sep 19, 2022 at 8:51 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo was headed out the door. His bags were packed, and his mail was forwarded. At least, in his mind, they were. After all, he wasn't sure where he was headed yet.

Instead of saying goodbye to Santa Clara, the San Francisco 49ers, and his teammates, his career took an unexpected U-turn. He opted to remain with the Niners, his home over the last four-and-a-half seasons. For the 49ers, they lucked out. The worst-case scenario happened on Sunday. Trey Lance suffered a broken ankle and will undergo season-ending surgery today.

Keeping Garoppolo on the roster suddenly doesn't seem as foolish as some wanted everyone to believe. San Francisco remains a championship contender, even after losing its starting quarterback. Not every team can overcome such a loss.

"I mean, honestly, at one point, I didn't think I was going to be a Niner," Garoppolo told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "I was pretty set on going to a couple different teams I had in mind. And then all of a sudden things switched [at the] last second."

Garoppolo had been throwing at the 49ers' facilities since late June, trying to regain the strength in his surgically repaired shoulder. When training camp arrived, he didn't feel like part of the organization anymore. Everyone was just waiting for a trade opportunity to present itself. That never came.

In the middle of training camp, head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with Garoppolo about the possibility of remaining with the 49ers, not as a starter but as Lance's backup. That would, of course, mean a salary cut. It was an idea that Garoppolo admits was never on his radar. When no trade market developed and the regular season quickly approached, the quarterback decided the best option was to stay put.

"There was a lot of familiarity with the organization, the offense, teammates, all that stuff played a role," Garoppolo said. "It was just a good opportunity. I know we got a good team here, and I know everyone keeps saying this, but we've got a chance at a Super Bowl, and that's what I'm trying to do."

Now, Garoppolo is a starting quarterback again, and he didn't have to switch teams to get to this point. Obviously, he doesn't like how it happened. He likes Lance and didn't want to see the 22-year-old quarterback's season end as it did. The two have grown close.

"It's tough, man," Garoppolo said. "Injuries, it's never fun, and especially for a young guy like that, I've been in his shoes, and it's going to be tough initially. But it's how you come out after. I'm a big believer in that. Trey's a tough dude, he's got a good mindset, and I'm hoping [for] the best for him."

Still, Garoppolo can't help but be excited about the opportunity. While he doesn't know what his future holds beyond this season, he knows his 49ers are capable of something special. San Francisco fell short during the 2019 season. Maybe this season will be different.


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