Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday delivered a message as to how he will handle his presumptive replacement, rookie quarterback Trey Lance, being in the San Francisco 49ers camp this upcoming preseason.
In his first public comments since the 49ers selected Lance with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Garoppolo appeared on ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show, saying he will mentor the team’s new signal caller the same way that seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady mentored him when he arrived in the league with the New England Patriots.
“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Garoppolo told 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.”
Jimmy Garoppolo Reached Out to Lance Before Any Other 49ers Player
Lance confirmed reports that Garoppolo was the first 49ers player to reach out to him following his drafting on Thursday, April 29.
“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. “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,” Lance continued. “And I just told him I’m super excited to learn from him.”
Things Will Continue as Normal With 49ers, For Now
Garoppolo will remain the 49ers starting quarterback heading into the 2021 season. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have already indicated as much.
The 49ers have found success with Garoppolo as their starting quarterback, making it to the Super Bowl in 2019. They were again projected for double-digit wins and to contend for the NFC West Division title this upcoming season, even before the drafting of Lance as their quarterback of the future.
The primary issue, as Shanahan and Lynch have described it, is Garoppolo’s durability. The signal caller has been sidelined for a total of 23 games since arriving in San Francisco, including 10 last season when he battled ankle injuries on and off throughout the year.
49ers brass said the selection of Lance was as a failsafe against Garoppolo’s persistent injury problems, though it’s hard to believe spending the kind of draft capital they did to move up for Lance — giving up first-round selections in the next two drafts, as well as third rounder — that the rookie isn’t the future under center for the team.
However, Lance only played in one game last season due to COVID-19 restrictions that essentially cancelled the rest of his collegiate season. The 20-year-old rookie only started 17 games in college and will undoubtedly need some coaching up before he’s ready to step onto an NFL field.
Garoppolo has outwardly expressed his willingness to help Lance in this regard, but the Super Bowl quarterback undoubtedly has designs on keeping his job. As such, a consistent question in the coming season will revolve around Garoppolo’s performance and when, if ever, it makes sense to move Lance into a starting role.