QB Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Press Conference – January 4, 2021

San Francisco 49ers

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Can you just give us an update on where everything is with the ankle right now, if there’s going to be any additional procedures and when you can kind of get back to doing everything full speed again?

“Yeah, the ankle’s doing good. We’re in a good spot right now. It’s progressed just the way I wanted it to, really. It’s not at a hundred percent, but it’s really just about getting reps at this point. Getting endurance back to it, the durability and everything. I think once we do that, it’ll be in a good spot. So, I’m pretty happy where I’m at.”

What’s immediately ahead for you in the 2021 offseason? What do you have to do to get your body better prepared for, I guess, this coming season and just take control of this team again?

“Really, it’s all about being out there. It’s all about availability. I know that. It’s been a series of unfortunate events with the injuries and things like that, but one thing I’m excited about is just getting ready for this offseason. Getting the body back to where it needs to be, getting ready for next season. There were so many things that I just have in mind and have planned ready to go and I’m ready to attack this offseason.”

You’re a former linebacker. You’re a traditional weight room type of guy. Do you do anything differently this offseason? Do you try to change your body? Do you just chalk it all up to bad luck in 2018 and in 2020 or do you try to do something a little bit differently this offseason?

“Yeah. I mean, it was obviously a little bit of bad luck, but you can’t associate everything with that. So yeah, I always try to look for new things for my body, new things to eat, new exercises, workout routines, whatever it is.  So, I always try to mix things up in the offseason and try to find what works for me, but yeah, it’ll be the same this offseason. Just try to get advice from people, talk to people, see what they’ve done in the past and it’s a bunch of things coming together, really.”

In the past, you’ve spoken about how great the training staff is there. Obviously, with a lot of the injuries this season, they’ve kind of gotten a bad rap. Share with us what it’s like, how you believe in them and how I guess the public shouldn’t be worried.

“Yeah. I mean, those guys, they work their ass off. They really do. All of them in there. It’s a great group in our training room, from the interns all the way to the top. The way they go about it is very professional and it’s just the right way to do it and so I really appreciate them for that. As far as all the injuries and things like that, them taking criticism, there’s things that we could prevent as players, but there’s some things that just happen on the field. It’s football and people are going to get hurt. We know what we signed up for, but at the end of the day, it’s just about being available and doing everything you can to be out there for your team and that’s what’s going to make us a good team next year.”

As you know, a lot of your teammates have spoken fondly about you as a friend and as a person and consider you part of that core group that I guess head coach Kyle Shanahan talked about in the meeting and wanting to keep you guys together. How important is being part of that core group and how much does the locker room mean to you and how much do you think you mean to the locker room?

“It’s just, the group of guys we’ve got here. I know you said about a core group and everything like that, and we have a great core here. We really do, but I think it’s just the little pieces around the Kyle and [general manager] John [Lynch] do a great job of bringing in the right people, whether it’s the custodian or whatever it is, they bring in the right people and when you have that many people thinking the same way, working for the same goal, it just leads to good things. That’s what we have going in this building. I think, as far as our core goes, we’ve got great core of guys, from the captains all the way down to the bottom guy on the totem pole. It’s a great group that I love being around. I appreciate all those things that guys say about me and I can’t wait to get to next year, man. Honestly, it’s been eating at me and I can’t wait to attack this offseason.”

I think myself and a lot of others have openly speculated on your future with the team, from your second injury on, looking at your contract and everything else. What have you, those quiet times, what have you thought about the organization and any decisions that might be coming in the offseason and frankly, what has Kyle and John told you? Have they given you any assurances that you will in fact be returning as the quarterback of the 49ers in 2021?

“Oh yeah. Yeah. I honestly haven’t put too much thought into it. All those things get said, but at the end of the day, I’m a 49er. I’m here to play quarterback. I’m here to be the quarterback of this team and every day I go out there and try to prove that to my teammates and my coaches. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. So, the people in this building, I love them. I love every one of them. Like I said before, it’s a great group to be around. John and Kyle, I think they’ve talked to the media and said what they’ve said, and I love those guys for it. Yeah, this is where I want to be and I love it here.”

You’ve had to kind of sit and watch a lot of this season and I don’t know how much you’re on social media, as much as TE George Kittle or something like that, but I’m sure you’re aware of the speculation. ‘Oh, the 49ers should draft this guy, or they should trade this guy and they should trade Garoppolo.’ Obviously, you’re very competitive, but does this kind of, as you think ahead to next season, get your competitive juices, I don’t know, keep them more going, just what’s gone into this season and the conversation around you?

“Yeah, it’s more so just not being out there with the guys. With the injuries and everything, that’s my main motivation. Honestly, all the other stuff is, you know, people are going to talk. I know what I signed up for and everything when I became a quarterback, but the people in this building is what I really care about and people just that I’m around every single day. That’s what I really care about and all the speculation is going to be out there, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to do your job, come into work every day, come in with a good mindset and we’ve got a lot of guys with that mindset and it’s fun to be around.”

You kind of answered this, but your teammates, Shanahan, talk a lot about how you’re the same guy every day no matter what’s going on, but with all the criticism, with the injuries, do you ever have your moments where you’re just like, ‘This kind of sucks?’.

“Absolutely. Yeah, being injured, prior in my career I never really had injuries, so I didn’t really know how to deal with it. It was kind of one of those things that it comes with the sport, I guess. I have to do my best to prevent it and do whatever I can in the offseason to get my body right, to handle a whole season and just get my mind right in that way. Just the motivation that comes with the injuries though is something that is unlike anything I’ve ever had. You’re not out there with the guys, you’re not out there with your teammates. As a quarterback, it’s really hard. I hate the feeling. It’s a very helpless feeling, but at the end of the day, I just want to be out there with my guys battling on the field.”

Looking back on when you returned from that ankle injury, in retrospect, do you feel like you came back too quick?

“Yeah, I mean the first time, yeah. Yeah, the first time just, it’s like I was just saying, I think I went two weeks without being out there and it was just something that I don’t like that feeling. I wasn’t used to it and yeah, I just wanted to be out there with my guys. Maybe I rushed it, maybe I didn’t, but I wouldn’t change it.”

In 2018, when you had the knee, you did some things in terms of working with former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan a little bit and some of that stuff, but also you were still kind of new to the offense. You didn’t have a whole lot of games under your belt. How different was it going through it this year in terms of your approach while you weren’t out there, just in what you could learn and what you were trying to gather to make yourself better for next year?

“It was pretty cool. Being up in the box, I would have the call sheet with me, trying to go through plays and just mentally being in the game as much as possible. Talking to guys who were up there with me about the game and there’s little things that you could do that having been injured for most of the season, I had a lot of time up there, so got to figure out some things that could help me in the future. I tried to make the best of the situation that I was in.”

Along those lines, the camera during games would sometimes find you up in the stands next to George, or next to CB Richard Sherman and you seemed to be jotting notes from time to time. Is that part of the call sheet? Is that something different? Where did you pick that up and then sitting next to Richard Sherman, his knowledge on defense, how valuable was that to have that insight probably in your ear during a game?

“I was actually just about to say that. I sat next to Sherm, especially these last couple of games. We sat right next to each other and I really tried to pick his brain just in a casual way, but at the same time, it was very insightful. Sherm’s a very bright guy. Obviously knows both sides of the ball and just talking schematics, scheme, whatever it is, he has a very interesting outlook on it. Honestly, I told him this yesterday at the game, I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve learned so much just in these last couple of weeks of talking to you,’ because as a quarterback, you think you know defenses and you think you know what they’re thinking, but now you talk to a corner who’s been doing it for so long. It was very insightful. I learned a lot and Sherm’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever been with. He’s one of those guys you love to be around, love his attitude, love how he comes in every day and just yeah, he’s one of a kind. That was pretty much what we were trying to do up there.”

Outside of your availability, what’s an area you feel like you must improve on for you guys and get back to the Super Bowl again? Then how much of your play this season/struggles was due to your ankle injury?

“I think just as far as next season, I go into the offseason, I’ll make a list of goals for myself, whether it’s work on my accuracy, work on intermediate throws, but the durability is number one right now. We’ll attack that, but then just as far as getting ready for next year, as long as the ankle’s good, I think we’ll be in a good spot. We’ve got some good players, keep everyone healthy, have a good offseason. I think we’ll be in a good spot for next year.”

Next year is a possibility where you’re not going to have that same group in there, especially on the offense. FB Kyle Juszczyk was a little emotional about what it might be like for him next season. Same with George not being without QB C.J. Beathard. How do you look towards 2021 and the fact that it might be very different?

“It’s tough. It really is. I’ve been in this league for a little while and I’ve been on some teams where you go to the Super Bowl, you win the Super Bowl, whatever, and the next year the team is completely different. It’s kind of the nature of the beast. That’s how the NFL works. It’s really tough. It really is, because you create friendships and relationships with these guys who you see them more than your family in here every day. Then all of a sudden, it just comes to a halt just like that. So, yeah, it’s tough, but it’s part of the business, I guess. Yeah, I’ll miss all those guys, whoever doesn’t come back, but it’ll definitely be different.”