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Jimmy G will use time with Brady, Patriots to help Lance

/ by Josh Schrock
Presented By Big O Tires
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Jimmy Garoppolo has been where Trey Lance is, and that will help the 49ers' current starting quarterback shape how he helps develop his successor.

Garoppolo was drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots in 2014 out of FCS school Eastern Illinois. Much like Lance, Garoppolo was brought onto a team with Super Bowl aspirations and an established starting quarterback in Tom Brady.

The 49ers drafted Lance with the No. 3 overall pick on Thursday, knowing he will need time to develop and that Garoppolo can help the 20-year-old transition from North Dakota State to the 49ers. Garoppolo told ESPN's "Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin" that he will use his own experiences learning under Brady to help Lance.

"It's kind of coming full circle," Garoppolo said. "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."

The first thing Garoppolo did after the 49ers selected Lance was ask general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan for the rookie's number, knowing he will play an important role in Lance's NFL career.

"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."

 

After the 49ers drafted Lance, Shanahan made it clear that Garoppolo still was a big part of the 49ers' plans for 2021 and that it would be hard for Lance, who only played 17 collegiate games, to win the starting job in his rookie season.

"Jimmy is a quarterback who has played one year and took us to a Super Bowl," Shanahan told reporters. "And played at a very high level. He's had some unfortunate injuries, but I believe in Jimmy as a person and he's shown what he can do on tape. Now, we made this move, so it's obvious what I hope and what I believe with this guy coming in. But it would be a very tough situation if Jimmy isn't on our team. I want Jimmy to be here and I want this kid to be brought along, I want to see how he does and if it turns into a competition, it turns into a competition. I'd be excited about that if he showed he was ready and stuff, but we know where Jimmy is at.

"He hasn't played football in a year. He hasn't been to an OTA. I'd love to get him out here. It would be very hard for me to picture a situation in which Jimmy's not here on Sunday. I think that would be very stressful for us because I think Jimmy is a very good player and we can with him. We'll play that by ear. But I'd expect Jimmy to be here, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't."

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Garoppolo led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a berth in Super Bowl LIV just 16 months ago, but last season the 29-year-old missed 10 games with two separate high ankle sprains. Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the past three seasons, prompting Shanahan and Lynch to make their blockbuster trade up tos select Lance.

For Garoppolo, he has no ill-will toward the 49ers. He understands the business and is appreciative that Shanahan and Lynch were always open with him about the process.

"The communication has been good," Garoppolo said. "There really hasn't been anything unsaid. Everything has been put on the table. I'm just happy to have the opportunity to play football. At the end of the day, that's what I'm here for, that's what I signed up for. As long as I have the opportunity to go out there and win some games and play good football, that's all you can ask for at the end of the day.

 

"All you really need is an opportunity. If you get an opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it and that's what I'm trying to do."

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