How Jimmy Garoppolo benefited from Patriots' 'ultra-competitive environment'

How Jimmy Garoppolo benefited from Patriots' 'ultra-competitive environment'

Agent Don Yee generally has words of advice and encouragement to clients who are going through the arduous process of rehabilitating from a severe injury.

But Yee said he has not felt the need to supply many inspirational words to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. After all, Garoppolo seems to have things under control, Yee said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“I actually counsel all my clients in similar situations that all you can do is control how hard you work that particular day and you just do it over and over and over and over again,” Yee said.

“To Jimmy’s credit, he’s one of those guys you don’t really have to get on him about working hard. He comes by that naturally, so we’re excited to see how things develop here. But we also don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Garoppolo sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in the closing minutes of the 49ers’ Week 3 game against the Kansas City Chiefs when he tried to make a cut near the sideline to remain inbounds for more yards on a scramble.

Garoppolo is on pace to participate in the 49ers’ offseason program, which begins in mid-April. The 49ers intend to allow Garoppolo to participate in controlled 7-on-7 drills. He is expected to be fully cleared for 11-on-11 drills at the beginning of training camp in late-July.

Yee’s firm negotiated the blockbuster, five-year, $137.5 million contract extension Garoppolo signed a year ago with the 49ers. Garoppolo spent the first 3 ½ seasons of his NFL career with the New England Patriots before the October 2017 trade to the 49ers for a second-round draft pick. Tom Brady is Yee’s highest-profile client.

“Frankly, that was a great environment,” Yee said of Garoppolo's time in New England. “It was a great situation for Jimmy to have the opportunity to be around Tom and learn under Tom.”

Yee said he believes one of the reasons the Patriots have been so successful is because of the competitive environment that coach Bill Belichick has fostered with the organization. Garoppolo benefitted from coming straight from Eastern Illinois into such a highly charged atmosphere.

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of ACL rehab schedule, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says]

“They ask a lot of their players, not only physically but socially and intellectually,” Yee said. “And I think the intellectual part and the demands they put on their players is often underestimated.

“And so for Jimmy to be in that ultra-competitive environment every day in the same room as someone like Tom and Jacoby Brissett, who is also a very competitive guy, I think that really helped him. I’m really looking forward to seeing him this season.”

Watch 49ers' Robbie Gould use kids as goal posts in kicking session

Watch 49ers' Robbie Gould use kids as goal posts in kicking session

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the global coronavirus pandemic forcing athletes to stay home, they are finding unique ways to train and stay in shape.

For 49ers kicker Robbie Gould, that means he can't practice his craft at the team's facility or any other football complex.

So, on Sunday, Gould got creative.

Yep. Gould lined his kids up as makeshift goalposts and picked footballs over them.

As Gould noted in his tweet, he did make sure his kids were wearing protective gear.

It's definitely an interesting way for Gould to bond with his kids, but again, the choices are limited while everyone is staying home in an effort to flatten the coronavirus curve.

Last year, Gould asked the 49ers to trade him, a request they did not fulfill. Instead, the two sides agreed to a new four-year contract.

By Gould's standards, he's coming off the worst season of his 15-year career. He made 23 of his 31 field goal attempts, a 74.2 percentage. The 37-year-old did make 41 of his 42 extra-point attempts in 2019.

[RELATED: Could Gore or Walker return?]

If Gould bounces back in 2020, you can give some of the credit to his kids.

Merton Hanks hypes Conference USA prospects to 49ers, other NFL clubs

Merton Hanks hypes Conference USA prospects to 49ers, other NFL clubs

Merton Hanks is not shy about reaching out to his former NFL team to provide tips on college prospects he knows well.

Hanks, who played eight seasons with the 49ers (1991-98) and won a Super Bowl, is the Senior Associate Commissioner of Conference USA, which consists of 14 football-playing universities.

“We want to make sure and give our young men every opportunity to be viewed by NFL clubs,” Hanks said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “So I tend to call my peer group around the NFL to make sure they’re paying attention to our players.

“Oh, I bug everybody, (including) the 49ers with John Lynch and Martin Mayhew, that whole staff. They do a great job of sourcing talent from Division III all the way up to the (power five). They go to where the good players are, and we have some good players in the conference.”

The 49ers have six players from Conference USA on their roster, including such draft picks as safety Tarvarius Moore (Southern Mississippi), and receivers Trent Taylor (Louisiana Tech) and Richie James (Middle Tennessee State).

The 49ers signed quarterback Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi) as an undrafted rookie in 2017, and he started eight games for the club in 2018.

One of the top prospects from Conference USA this year is Florida Atlantic tight end Harrison Bryant, who undoubtedly is on the 49ers’ radar.

The 49ers will be looking to add a tight end in the draft to pair with George Kittle. Bryant was the 2019 Mackey Award winner as the top tight end in college football.

“He reminds me of Brent Jones,” Hanks said, “a good pass-catching tight end and a willing blocker.”

Hanks also mentioned defensive back Amik Robertson of Louisiana Tech. Hanks envisions Robertson overcoming his less-than-ideal size (5-foot-8, 187 pounds) to carve out a 10-year NFL career with a playing style that reminds some of Tyrann Mathieu.

With the restrictions on private workouts and pro days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanks said he believes the college athletes from Conference USA or from any college program who were not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine are at an inherent disadvantage this year.

“Those players are in a bit of a tough spot, in the sense that teams won’t be able to circle back and get on campus and really take a look at them,” Hanks said.

[RELATED49ers Mailbag: Could Frank Gore or Delanie Walker return to franchise?]

One Conference USA prospect who might not suffer from not being invited to the combine is Middle Tennessee defensive end Tyshun Render.

New England coach Bill Belichick went to campus in late-February to pace Render through a workout while most of his NFL peers were in Indianapolis for the combine.

“Conference USA has been fortunate,” Hanks said. “We’re a football-playing conference in every sense. We put a lot of resources toward football and NFL clubs understand that they can come get good players.”

LB Azeez Al-Shaair, Florida Atlantic
WR Richie James, Middle Tennessee State
S Tarvarius Moore, Southern Mississippi
QB Nick Mullens, Southern Mississippi
WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
RB Jeff Wilson Jr., North Texas