Jimmy Garoppolo has gone from apprentice to mentor in the blink of an eye.
Garoppolo was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft to eventually take over for Tom Brady. That, of course, sparked a historic second act of Brady's career which led the Patriots to trade Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2017.
After three-plus seasons as QB1, Garoppolo now is tasked with mentoring Trey Lance, who the 49ers drafted with the No. 3 overall pick to take over for Garoppolo as the face of the franchise.
"I think a big part of it was that Tom [Brady] never did anything that wasn’t him," Garoppolo told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. "He was just himself, he didn’t try and do anything that was fake or something that would be weird to me. That’s kind of the approach that I'm taking with Trey [Lance] and the rest of the QBs too.
"We’re around each other so many hours during the day, and so consistently, that you really can’t fake it because guys are going to see right through it. The relationship between me and Trey, it’s been good so far, I think it’ll keep growing as time goes on, but it’s just one of those things, you gotta take it day by day."
Garoppolo's arrival in New England pushed Brady to new heights as the legendary quarterback elevated his game to fend off his heir apparent. Garoppolo has taken a diplomatic approach to Lance's arrival, which should set the tone for what the 49ers hope is a return to Super Bowl contention.
Ever since the 49ers traded up to select Lance, Garoppolo's name has been floated around in a number of trade rumors, something the 29-year-old quarterback admits is fueling him as he prepares for what likely will be his last season as the 49ers' quarterback.
While the offseason didn't go as Garoppolo had hoped, he knows how the league works and is ready to compete with and stave off Lance as Brady did to him.
"The chip will always be there," Garoppolo told ESPN's "Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin" on Tuesday. "That hasn't gone away at all. Since I got in the league, I've had that. I think that kind of comes from just the way you were raised and everything like that. My dad was an electrician, blue-collar guy and I think it kind of just rubs off on you.
"It's kind of the way the league is going nowadays. Everybody is drafting young, wants to get the developmental guy and things like that, so I kind of know what it is. I've been on both sides of it now, but at the end of the, like I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity. Once you get that, you've got to take advantage of it."