FOXBORO — The revolving door of big-name quarterbacks is starting to move this week, as Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start with the 49ers while Eli Manning will be benched by the Giants after 210 straight starts.
Tom Brady’s name is often uttered in the same sentence as both players. Garoppolo might have been the heir apparent to Brady had it appeared Brady’s career was near its end. Manning, of course, is the only quarterback to beat Brady in a Super Bowl.
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Brady spoke about both players Friday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, starting with his former teammate.
“It’s a great opportunity for Jimmy,” Brady said. “We’ve kept in touch and I always wish him the best of luck. I think he’ll do a great job. The Niners are lucky to have him.”
Garoppolo’s third career start and first since Week 2 of last season will come against the Bears. Last week, he got into the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks late and completed both of his passes, one of which went for a touchdown.
Manning, meanwhile, was rather unceremoniously benched this week by the 2-9 Giants in favor of former Jets quarterback Geno Smith. The move has been highly criticized by players throughout the league, with Philip Rivers calling the move “pathetic.”
As one might expect, Brady was more reserved.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Brady said. “The NFL’s a tough league and you just have to do your best as a player, keep doing the best you can do whether it’s for the team you’re on or another team [after]. If you love playing and can keep doing it at a high level, [you can] still play.”