Patriots

49ers turn to Jimmy Garoppolo as starting quarterback

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49ers turn to Jimmy Garoppolo as starting quarterback

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers are ready for the start of the Jimmy Garoppolo era after announcing Tuesday that the franchise's quarterback of the future will make his first start for the team this week.

Coach Kyle Shanahan met with Garoppolo and former starter C.J. Beathard to inform them that Garoppolo will make his first start for San Francisco (1-10) on Sunday at Chicago (3-8).

The Niners acquired Garoppolo on Oct. 31 from New England for a 2018 second-round pick to be the franchise's long-term quarterback even though he had made only two starts in three-plus seasons for the Patriots.

After taking time to learn the new offense, Garoppolo made his San Francisco debut in Sunday's 24-13 loss to Seattle after starter Beathard left with injuries to his hip and knee with just over a minute left.

Garoppolo completed both passes, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy. Now he will get an even bigger opportunity to show what he can do for his new team.

Garoppolo has little NFL game film to go on but his performance in those two starts last year when Tom Brady was suspended was impressive and made him a highly sought after quarterback. He completed 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in wins against Arizona and Miami.

He got hurt in the second quarter of his second start and has thrown just six passes since then - including the two on Sunday - but the Niners still believe he's the player to build around.

Garoppolo is eligible to become a free agent in the offseason but the way he plays down the stretch could help set the market for what he will be worth and facilitate a long-term deal with San Francisco. The 49ers also have the option of using the franchise tag to keep Garoppolo if they can't reach a long-term contract.

Beathard made five starts as a rookie after taking over from Brian Hoyer, who replaced Garoppolo as Brady's backup in New England. Beathard completed 54.9 percent of his passes, averaged 6.4 yards per attempt and had four TDs and six interceptions for a 69.2 passer rating.

Beathard was also sacked 19 times and hit many others while playing behind a patch-work line that could get starting right tackle Trent Brown back this week after he missed the most recent game with a shoulder injury.

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Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

Ex-Patriot Chris Long rips NFL's new National Anthem policy

On Wednesday, the NFL announced a new policy on players protesting during the National Anthem.

The new policy permits players to stay in the locker room while the anthem plays, but requires them to stand if they come on to the field.

Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long, now with the Eagles, shared his thoughts on the controversial change via Twitter:

His teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, ripped the new policy on Twitter as well.

Devin and Jason McCourty showed their support for Long and Jenkins' statements by reposting them on their Twitter account:

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Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

Source: Tom Brady not at TB12 while teammates next door at OTAs

A source confirms that Tom Brady was not working out at his TB12 sports medicine facility at Patriot Place in Foxboro while his teammates were on the field at OTAs as was previously reported by the Boston Herald.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, the other notable absence from OTAs, has been at the TB12 facility on the days his teammates were on the field practicing and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who participated in the first day of OTAs, has also been at TB12, according to the source.

The Herald's Karen Guregian reported on Tuesday that both Brady and Gronkowski were at TB12 on Monday, which is right next to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots were practicing. 

Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak and Bertrand" show said Brady likely wasn't even in the country this week.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday that Brady and Gronk are expected to participate in the mandatory mini-camp at Gillette June 5-7.

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