When quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got the life-changing phone call from 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on March 26, he said a lot of things went through his mind.
After Shanahan let him know the 49ers would be selecting his eventual replacement in the upcoming draft, Garoppolo did not initially know how to react.
He hinted that he even briefly thought about requesting a trade to find a new NFL home and let the 49ers ride with the quarterback they would eventually take with the No. 3 overall pick.
Two months later — and one month after the 49ers selected Trey Lance to be their quarterback of the future — Garoppolo has not changed a thing.
He is taking part in the team’s offseason program as the club prepares for the 2021 season. He took all the first-team practice repetitions during practice on Tuesday, and he appears to be in solid standing to open the season as the 49ers’ starter.
“When it initially happened, there’s a million emotions that go on throughout your head and you think of all the possible scenarios and things like that,” Garoppolo said when asked if he considered asking for a trade.
“But at the end of the day, I want to play football. I want to go out there and win games. That’s what I do. And so it wasn’t anything too crazy. It took a little while to process everything. But once I did, it was just, ‘Go out there and ball.’ You got to go out and attack it. The NFL is a crazy business. Things happen, but you have to attack it day by day. And make the best of it.”
Garoppolo appeared in only six games last season due to two separate high ankle sprains. His ability to remain on the field has been the biggest knock on Garoppolo throughout his seven-year NFL career.
He said he set out in the offseason to get healthy and get stronger. He said his ankle feels great, and he appears to have put on some muscle in his upper body, too.
“I just focus on the same things I always have, really,” he said. “The offseason is a time for me to grow, for our team to grow and you try to improve on the things you didn’t do so well the year before.
“This offseason I had a list of things I wanted to improve on. First of all, get the back healthy, and everything and it’s been going really well. The body feels great. There are some little things throughout the offense we’re trying to work on, and I’ve been trying to critique myself as much as I can, just fix the little things.”
Garoppolo has started 30 regular-season games since coming to the 49ers in a mid-season trade in 2017. The 49ers are 22-8 in those games. The one time Garoppolo played a full season, the 49ers went 13-3 in the regular season, won the NFC West and advanced to the Super Bowl.
One of the few criticisms he receives is connected to his availability, and that is the reason the 49ers made the trade to draft his heir apparent.
“Being in the NFL for as long as I have, you kind of get used to it,” Garoppolo said of the criticism. “It kind of comes with the job. It’s one of those things that it keeps pushing you, though.
"When you hear those critiques and you hear those little things out there, it pushes you to take your game to the next level. We’re all competitors out there. We all want to go (play) the perfect game, and at the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do. I’ll keep pushing myself.”