October 29, 2017, was the last day that Jimmy Garoppolo suited up in a blue and gray New England Patriots home game uniform.
Two days later on Halloween, Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers and since then, hasn’t looked back. Still, to say there isn’t a little extra on the line when he returns to face the team that drafted him would be untruthful.
When Garoppolo spoke to the media on Thursday he said his excitement level is the same as it is for every game. Kyle Shanahan, however, has noticed a slight uptick in his quarterback’s energy level.
“I wouldn’t say it’s drastic but I’m around him all the time and know him pretty well so I can tell he’s excited,” Shanahan said. “It’s been some time since he’s been back there and he’s got a ton of respect for everyone there.
“I know he has a lot of good friends there. So, anyone in that situation, there’s always a little more excitement than usual.”
Garoppolo’s return to Gillette Stadium won’t be quite as dramatic as Richard Sherman’s return to play the Seattle Seahawks in 2018 after his less than friendly departure. The 28-year old quarterback spoke about how thankful he was for the Patriots coaching staff assisting his development and transition into the league.
One thing Garoppolo did reveal to Matt Maiocco as a guest on 49ers talk was how animated the banter is between Patriots players and their fans. Unfortunately because of COVID regulations, Garoppolo will miss that part of his homecoming.
“I really wish there were fans for that game,” Garoppolo said. “I can remember when I was with the Patriots, some home games we had, we’d get heckled by our own fans, but in a good way. New England people are very truthful, very honest, and I always appreciated that.”
The end of the month marks the third anniversary of Garoppolo’s move to the West Coast. While the franchise quarterback loves his team and of course the more moderate weather, he looks forward to revisiting a little part of his history.
“It will be a different experience going back there, just seeing some of the old places, seeing the old stadium and everything,” Garoppolo said. “It’ll be cool though, just to see the full circle of how everything has come to fruition throughout this career."