Jimmy Garoppolo will return to play against the team that drafted him when the 49ers visit the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The quarterback made it clear Thursday that there are no hard feelings after being traded, but instead, has a lot of respect and appreciation. Bill Belichick played a sizable role in preparing Garoppolo to lead the 49ers' offense.
On Monday the Patriots coach said that he believed Garoppolo, upon being drafted, would need some help in his development and transition adjusting to an NFL offense. The 49ers' franchise quarterback agreed.
“Coach Belichick was right about that,” Garoppolo said. “My college offense, like every college offense, it's just so different than the NFL game. Mike points, ID-ing the fronts, coverages, all that stuff you had to do in New England, and so it kind of set me up for everything here.
“Made the transition a lot easier, but initially I can remember the first OTAs and training camp, it was rough going from college to the NFL. That's why, when you see these guys come in and start right away, it's impressive.”
It’s clear that Garoppolo is happy with how things have worked out. He signed a five-year $137.5 million contract in 2018 and led the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV the following season.
Still, returning where he spent a large part of his first four seasons in the NFL is a little sentimental for Garoppolo. He might not admit it but it’s a homecoming of sorts for the leader of the 49ers' offense.
“It's an exciting week,” Garoppolo said. “Get to go back to where it all started for my NFL career. I feel like I've come a long way, learning the offense and things like that. It's an exciting week and can't wait for Sunday.”