49ers

Jimmy G acknowledges he's motivated by offseason trade talk

49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo

The offseason has been a roller coaster for Jimmy Garoppolo.

After missing 10 games last season and 23 games in three years, the 49ers opted to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Trey Lance, who eventually will take over for Garoppolo as the 49ers' starting quarterback. On top of Lance's arrival -- which Garoppolo has handled diplomatically to set the tone for a Super Bowl return -- the 29-year-old heard his name thrown out in countless trade rumors around the draft.

Garoppolo is no stranger to life in the NFL, which comes with a 24/7 news cycle chock full of trade rumors that aren't entirely real. But this offseason had a different feel to Garoppolo, and he admitted that is fueling him as he looks toward the 2021 season, which likely will be his last with the 49ers.

"You can’t listen to everything but you know when something real does happen you have to react to it properly,” Garoppolo said Wednesday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac". “I want to say it’s just white noise but it definitely motivates me, I’m not gonna lie. That’s the competitor in all of us. You hear things like that, at the end of the day there’s only one quarterback out there but you want to go compete and do whatever you can to be that guy, so it’s kind of a motivator in the back of your head."

 

While Lance is the 49ers' future, both head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have been open about the fact that they want Garoppolo on the team and believe he gives the team the best chance to win this season.

Of course, that's subject to change.

Lance, 21, only played in 17 games at North Dakota State. Most expect that Lance will need at least a year to sit and develop behind Garoppolo, but there is always a chance he picks things up quicker than expected and pushes Garoppolo for the starting job this fall.

While Lance's arrival spells the end of Garoppolo's long-term future in San Francisco, the veteran quarterback is just happy he gets to battle to keep the job that has been his for three-plus years.

“As long as I have that opportunity and I’m given a chance like that, that’s all you can really ask for as an athlete or anyone in a line of work, you know, you just want an opportunity to go put your best foot out there and put your best self out there and that’s all I’m asking for," Garoppolo said. "So Kyle and John are giving me that opportunity, and it’s my job to go earn it now every day in practice, every day on the field, weight room, whatever it is just go out there and be that guy.”

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Garoppolo, who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2014 to eventually succeed Tom Brady, knows how difficult it can be for a rookie quarterback coming into a building with an already established veteran starter. He immediately reached out to Lance when the rookie was drafted and plans to use the lessons he learned being Brady's understudy to help Lance along his NFL journey.

"It's kind of coming full circle," Garoppolo told ESPN's "Keyshawn, JWil & Zubin." "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.

"I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player," Garoppolo said. "I'm going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It's hard to come into this league, I know how it was coming from an FCS school to the NFL. It's a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want to call it, it's just different. So, whatever I can do to help, him I'll be more than happy."

 

Garoppolo and Lance took the field together for the first time Tuesday at OTAs. Lance has impressed his teammates and coaches early on, but it's clear Garoppolo will fight, scratch and claw to keep his job for as long as possible, wanting to prove to the 49ers and the league at large that he still is a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.

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