Jimmy Garoppolo

McKinnon followed Garoppolo's lead to 49ers: 'He’s a true leader, you can't teach that'

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AP

McKinnon followed Garoppolo's lead to 49ers: 'He’s a true leader, you can't teach that'

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo caught the attention of running back Jerick McKinnon long before they became teammates with the 49ers.

And when McKinnon was available as a free agent this offseason, Garoppolo helped sell him on the idea of moving to the Bay Area.

And now that they have been in the same building for a month-and-a-half during the 49ers’ offseason program, McKinnon feels better and better about his new NFL address.

“It’s not always about the money, like people say,” McKinnon said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “For me, it’s about the scheme. And I felt like this was probably the best fit that I could possibly think of.”

Before signing a four-year, $30 million contract, McKinnon spoke to Garoppolo and 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk and asked questions about the organization, the coaching staff and Bay Area.

“Talking to those guys and coming here, being blessed with the contract, obviously, it’s just a good fit,” McKinnon said. “Since I got here, it’s been nothing but love. I feel like this team is family oriented. And I can feel that when I first got here. It reminded me of a lot of the things that went on in Minnesota. That’s how I know there’s something special going on here.”

McKinnon was mostly the No. 2 back behind Adrian Peterson and Latavius Murray during his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He said he knew he would not be returning to the Vikings as a free agent. And he used his knowledge of happenings around the NFL to help figure out his next move. Out of all the options at running back available to him, including Carlos Hyde, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan targeted McKinnon.

And McKinnon targeted the 49ers, too.

He said he took note of Garoppolo during his time as a backup in New England. Both were in the 2014 draft. Garoppolo was a second-round pick from Eastern Illinois. McKinnon was a third-round selection from Georgia Southern.

“That dude right there is sharp,” McKinnon said of Garoppolo. “We came out the same year. I watched him behind Brady, and when he got his chance to play and how he did, I was like, ‘When this guy gets his time, he’s going to be ready – there’s no doubt.’ He’s playing behind Tom Brady, one of the best. Tom Brady’s got five rings. So he got to learn from the best on a daily basis.

"I saw the trade was made last year. ‘OK, he’s going to be something special.’ And when he got hit chance, he didn’t lose a game, they didn’t lose a game. . . I watched them last year toward the end of the season when they started winning. I was like, ‘Those guys over there have something contagious going on.’ ”

Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension with the 49ers prior to the start of free agency. He led the way, and McKinnon followed.

“Coming here and getting to meet him in person and see how he prepares and how he leads in the huddle and on the field, he’s a true leader,” McKinnon said. “You can’t teach that.”

Jimmy G pumps up Sharks crowd ahead of Game 3

Jimmy G pumps up Sharks crowd ahead of Game 3

For the second time during the Stanley Cup playoffs, a member of the San Francisco 49ers pumped up the Sharks' crowd.

A couple weeks after his head coach did the same, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo opened the door as San Jose took the ice, all while adorning a custom teal jersey. 

The Sharks sealed the sweep when 49ers Kyle Shanahan did it in Game 4 of the first round against Anaheim. The SAP Center crowd certainly hopes the quarterback can follow in Shanahan's footsteps, and serve as San Jose's good-luck charm. 

Why 49ers targeted Mike McGlinchey with first-round pick

Why 49ers targeted Mike McGlinchey with first-round pick

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a $137.5 million contract in February.

On the first night of the NFL Draft, the organization took out an insurance policy.

The 49ers used the No. 9 overall pick Thursday night to add Notre Dame right tackle Mike McGlinchey. The club selected him over pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. The 49ers opted to strengthen Garoppolo's supporting cast on offense.

“This was a guy, and last week, we decided that if he's there at nine, he's the guy we're taking,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said of McGlinchey.

The addition of McGlinchey indicates the 49ers have no intention of retaining right tackle Trent Brown, who has one season remaining on his contract. Pro Football Talk reported Friday morning the 49ers are discussing a possible trade of Brown to the New England Patriots.

Lynch said the addition of McGlinchey has short-term and long-term benefits. He will work at right tackle, along with Garry Gilliam, during the offseason program. McGlinchey could also switch to left tackle when Joe Staley’s career comes to an end. Coach Kyle Shanahan said McGlinchey will have to earn his starting job, though.

It is clear the 49ers believe McGlinchey will leave no doubt that he will be a starter from Week 1.

The 49ers decided early in the draft process that McGlinchey gave them everything they wanted with their top pick. The organization’s only contact with him came during a 15-minute formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February. After that, the 49ers gave him the silent treatment.

“There's some people who command a room and who own a room,” Lynch said. “I think there were probably two guys that stood out from the pack. We have 60 interviews at the combine and he was a guy that came in and just kind of owned the room, and everyone felt it.

“It wasn't just me. Kyle felt that way. Our coaches that were in the room felt that way, our scouts in the room. He's got a special presence to him. He's real. He's authentic, and he's a badass. And we like that.”

McGlinchey (6-foot-8, 315 pounds) impressed the 49ers with a commitment to the game that the 49ers remain unconvinced Brown possesses. Brown is currently rehabbing from a shoulder surgery that will keep him out for the entire offseason program.

“To me what separates Mike from everyone else is the person you're getting,” Shanahan said. “It always starts with the film, always, and he has that ability. He has that talent. But, the soldier, how committed he is to football -- his football character. He's an O-Lineman who has started 39 straight games. I'm sure he has some injuries, but we haven't seen it because he doesn't talk about them and he just plays.”

McGlinchey is the first tackle the 49ers have selected in the first round since Anthony Davis (No. 10 overall) in 2010. Staley was a first-round pick (No. 28) in 2007.

“Lots of people are looking for tackles, and they are very hard to find,” Shanahan said. “We felt that we had an opportunity to get the best tackle in the draft, and I think a lot of people in the league felt that way.

“When you're in that situation, a lot of people are desperate for him, and that's why you have to keep it somewhat of a secret because people will jump you and take them because they are limited. So you don't find many sleepers later in the draft when you're talking about that position.”

Shanahan was so determined to not allow word to get out of the 49ers’ interest in McGlinchey that he did not even contact his first cousin, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, to ask any questions. Shanahan was Atlanta's offensive coordinator in 2015 and '16.

“I didn't want to blow our cover,” Shanahan said. “We haven't talked to Mike since the combine, and I definitely would have checked in with Matt if we were worried about something. But we felt very good about the guy and the person. I got a text right from Matt after we drafted him.

“But, trust me, I had to keep it a secret.”

Lynch said one of his learning moments in his first year in his position with the 49ers was the Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles when Brown was out with an injury and Gilliam, his backup, sustained a season-ending knee injury early in the second quarter. Zane Beadles entered at right tackle and moved to left tackle when Joe Staley sustained a fractured orbital bone. Undrafted rookie guard Erik Magnuson was forced into action at right tackle.

“I think a great lesson for me,” Lynch said. “It will scar me for life, really.”