QB Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Press Conference – February 1, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
We wanted to start off with a little bit of an announcement. Every season, the San Francisco chapter of the Pro Football Writers award the Garry Niver Award. Gary was a long-time sportswriter who passed away in the 1990s and it’s an award that goes to the 49ers player who best exemplifies professionalism and cooperation in dealing with the media. This year we had co-winners. Yesterday we announced T Trent Williams, and today you, so thank you very much.
“I appreciate it. Thank you for the Award. You guys have been a fun group to work with. Honestly, it’s been a fun four years.”
Part of the reason you win this or the reason you win it, just your professionalism, how you handled yourself with class this season, the demeanor by which you carried yourself. And it couldn’t have been a real easy season for you to maintain those characteristics. How did you go about it? What was your focus this year, just to handle yourself in that manner when there was so much stuff going on that started even be before the season began?
“Yeah. I mean, it was difficult at times. There was times where if you lose sight of what your main point of emphasis is, what you’re trying to do in in this building, you get distracted. And I mean, there was plenty of opportunities for that, but, when things happened in the offseason and we made the trade and everything and picked [QB] Trey [Lance], it kind of made things clear for me, honestly, it gave me a clear course of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish this year. It honestly made things simpler in some ways, because it took the weight off my shoulders. Now it’s just go play football and enjoy this last year with the guys and create as many relationships as I could. And that’s really what I tried to do this year and thought it worked out pretty well.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were just in there saying that one of the big things for you for the next few weeks or however long this takes is going to be communication, which I know you said you appreciated that they communicated with you back then. Was it communicated to you that you will be able to maybe have a say in how this kind of all plays out and if so, what are some things that you would maybe like to have in your next destination, if indeed that’s what happens?
“Yeah. We’ve talked a little bit, I think more will happen in the days that come, but yeah, these guys have been very upfront about the whole thing. I was talking to John yesterday just about finding the right destination and whatever the future holds just doing it the right way. I’ve got a long career ahead of me. So I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the opportunities to come. I just want to go to a place where they want to win. I mean, that’s really what I’m in this game for. I’m here to play football here, to win football games. And as long as I’ve got that and good people around me, I think the rest will take care of itself.”
I was going to say, it’s been great baby, but Kyle and John have indicated that some scenario exists in which you would not be traded. So just letting you know, you can stay on the same page there. Can you imagine a scenario in which you were playing for the 49ers in 2022?
“You know, I’ll never close every door completely. I think there’s a possibility of anything. I think just, we need to have those conversations here in the next couple days, next couple weeks and really get the ball rolling on that. Football’s such a, I mean, you get into such a routine, just talking to some of the guys about it, that every day is so consistently the same. And you get into a rhythm of that, that when it ends, it just comes to such a halt. It’s hard to put all the scenarios into play right now, but I think those things will work themselves out. I’ve had a great time here with the Niners organization, with the Faithful, everything here has been awesome. Been some ups and downs obviously, but yeah, I mean, we’ll see what happens, I guess.”
Did you kind of brace yourself last spring to have this kind of thank you, goodbyes? And then did it surprise you just how the season went on, how you’re able to get through everything?
“Never really prepared myself for this, honestly. I live in the moment. I’m a pretty simple guy like that. I try not to look too far forward. Don’t want to live in the past or anything, but I mean, I knew this would happen eventually, but you can never be totally prepared for moments like these. It’s just weird. You put yourself through all these things, you put yourself out there as a player, you make all these great relationships and then you know, things come to a halt. But that’s just life. You’ve got to keep moving on, keep things rolling and enjoy the moment.”
Kyle was talking about the middle of the season. You guys were three and five at the time. I think you had just sat out a game with the calf injury. And he was saying that he was reaching a point where he had to decide whether to go with Trey for the rest of the season or not. And he indicated he was close to making that decision. The next game of course is the Rams game and you guys win three straight and then obviously you know what happens next. But I’m just wondering whether you realized what the stakes were in that game and looking back at that Week 10 game, how big that win or how difficult it was with your calf, et cetera, just everything that was going into that game?
“Yeah. I think I had some type of idea. I never try to make things too big in my head. Just try to stay in the moment, take it for what it is, but yeah, I mean, you saying about just the Week 10 game, it seemed like every game this year, especially once we got to about the three and five point each game carried some significant weight to it. But that’s what makes for a good year, makes for exciting football for the fans to watch. Obviously as players and coaches we’re living it. So it’s always crazy for us, but it’s just that’s the NFL season. It’s never easy. It’s almost when it’s more difficult like this, it makes the year more memorable. You remember those tough times and all the things you had to fight through. It makes for a fun year, man. A lot of memories I’ll remember for a long time.”
Zooming out on the entire four years. I still remember that the first day we all met you. I think it was your birthday in 2017 and you said it was quite the birthday present that surprise of a trade. Now that you’ve had a couple days to reflect to over the end of this season, have you had a chance to reflect on all four years? And if you have what’s the one biggest difference between Jimmy Garoppolo now and when you first step set foot in the 49ers facility in 2017 as a person?
“I really haven’t had time to fully, you know, the full four years. I’ve been thinking about this year and just what this team has been through. But I mean the full four years, it’s crazy. Just how I feel like as a person, I’ve grown, as a player, I’ve grown. I’ve created a lot of friendships along the way. But I don’t know, really since I’ve gotten here, it’s all been about I want to leave the place better than when I got here. It’s always something that I’ve tried to live through and whatever it is, growing up, school, football, other sports, I always try to do that with every place I went. It’s one of those things you look back on it and just how far this team, this organization has come in four years. It’s pretty wild. But you know, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I think everything happens for a reason and got to enjoy the moment while you have it.”
It sounded like you, in the beginning of this were resigned to the fact that you would be somewhere else next year. As much as you’ve liked your time, is there something to be said for a fresh start and not having another year of Jimmy or Trey, Jimmy or Trey?
“Absolutely. Yeah. It’ll definitely be different. I don’t know if it’ll be easier or harder. Each year’s difficult in this league. I mean, it always is, but that’s part of the reason I love it. Nothing’s given to you, you’ve got to earn everything in this league and it’s not easy. I think that’s just something that I embrace and I sort of enjoy in a way.”
Going through Trey’s arrival at the 49ers, and then also the rollercoaster of the season, what did you learn about yourself through all of this?
“Learned how to be more resilient, I guess. I think that that was a big thing throughout this whole year. Just, you’ve got to be resilient through all the noise that you hear and all the things that are going on during OTAs, training camp, leading up to the season. And then really once we got to the season, it was just about playing ball. That kind of was the easy part, just being out there with your brothers, being on that field. And once you got between the white lines, all that noise kind of disappeared and it just became football at that point. So those were the moments where kind of things slowed down for me, got to enjoy those moments a little bit. And I think just the resilience of this team really showed throughout this entire year.”
Yesterday Trey said that he thinks of you as someone who will be a best friend of his for life. And I’m just wondering if you feel the same way and what your relationship has been like with him and how you expect it to be kind of going forward as you both progress in your careers?
“It’s been fun with Trey. He’s a good dude, down to earth, normal dude. And I really liked that since the day he got here, because if Trey would have come in and acted a little different things could have been tough there for a little while, but he was always a class act, always a cool dude and he’s gonna have a bright future. I wish him nothing but the best going forward. I’m excited for him. He’s a talented young guy and the future’s bright for him.”
A couple questions. Do you have a surgery scheduled yet on your thumb and have the 49ers formally or informally given you and your representation permission to seek a trade?
“We’re handling the thumb actually in the next couple days. We’re going to see a specialist, see what he thinks of the whole situation, get a couple of opinions. If I could avoid surgery, that’s really what I’m hoping for. But, we’ll see. This arm’s been through a lot this last month, so got to get this figured out first. And yeah, as far as just the whole trade situation, John’s been very clear with it. I think they’re trying to do the best for me. I’m trying to do the best for them and we’re working together in that really haven’t made too much progress on it, but I think things will start happening here pretty quickly.”
You just mentioned that Trey, you think he has a bright future. From a playing perspective, what did you see from him as he kind of grew throughout the year and what do you think he will do as the starter in 2022, if that’s how it works out?
“Trey, he’s grown a lot mentally. I think physically, I don’t get to see all the reps he’s doing on scout team and things, but mentally just in the classroom and things like that, he’s grown a lot. I mean, when you come in as a rookie, it’s difficult. Just picking up, especially our offense, it’s so different and wordy and things like that. But he’s done a good job of it. It’s tough to come in and learn as quickly as he did and it’s been impressive. I think next year looks bright for him. Dude’s as talented as it comes. He’s just got to use those things the right way, run, slide, learn how to get down when he needs to. But no, I’m excited for him.”
With former NFL QB Tom Brady retiring, I’m curious, I know you never really mentioned this, I think directly, but now that the season’s over, I’m just curious if there was something that you learned from him about the competitive nature it requires to sort of fend off a replacement I guess and maybe if you were able to apply that and just reflect on what he meant to you and with your career?
“Well, first of all, congratulations to Tom. I mean, absolutely incredible career, best to ever do it. Just so happy for him, man, all that he’s accomplished. But yeah, I mean I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from Tom. You know, it started back to my rookie year. There’s been moments where with me and Trey it felt like me and Tom at times. And I would like, think to myself, I’m like, I used to be the young guy in this relationship here. And it’s just crazy how things come full circle like that. But just so happy for Tom. I think he’s going to really enjoy retirement. He’s always on to the next thing and he always has things happening, but very grateful for what he taught me as a player, as a person, really just helped me grow as a man. I really appreciate him for that and wish him nothing but the best.”
You may have kind of answered this, but just in those conversations that you’ve had since the season ended or just what you know of John and Kyle, do you have confidence they’ll prioritize where you want to go over the compensation they could receive in a trade?
“I don’t know. I think everything has to be balanced, I guess you could say. But I think we’ve done right by each other, just throughout this whole relationship. They’ve been very upfront. John’s been awesome about it, just the communication part of it. I can’t thank them enough for that, but I think we’ll work it out one way or another. I don’t know how exactly that will work, but I think both sides will be happy in the end.”
One thing you’ve said a couple times now is you’ve surrounded yourself with good people and obviously what we see you after games with your parents and your brothers. I’m wondering what they’re trying to tell you right now, what you’re going through, what to expect and if there’s anything that they’ve said to you over the past year that kind of helped push you through it?
“They’ve been so supportive throughout this whole thing. Honestly, I couldn’t do it without them, my family, my friends. Yeah, I truly believe that just when you’re put into a tough situation, you’ve got to find a way to cope with it, to find a way to, you’ve got to talk it out and having friends and family like that, that I could talk to really made things easier on me. They took so much off my plate, just away from football, everything like that. They really help me out a ton and I can’t thank them enough for that, but no, nothing in particular. Class and pride was always something that I try to live by. I think it’ll take you a long way and it’ll do good things for you.”
You just mentioned that the thumb has been through a lot in recent weeks. Is there anything you can tell us now that you might not have been willing to share with us, share with your opponent during the season, during the playoffs about any particular throws, any particular moments, Green Bay with the cold? Did anything about the thumb kind of stick out to you as a quarterback?
“I mean just the day-to-day struggle with it. I mean, it was real. I think everyone’s dealing with stuff when you get to the playoff time, especially with the 17-game season. But no, it’s just I think you could tell through the throws. I mean, as the season progressed, the thumb and shoulder were, they were hanging on. But there were a couple that obviously wish I could have had back just with the circumstances, but no, it held up, I’ll say that it definitely held up.”
“Before we end guys, I just wanted to do a quick thank you to all you guys, the media. Since I got here, you guys have been awesome. It’s been some ups and downs between all of us, but for the most part, you guys have been awesome. Just a good group to deal with. You guys are very engaging and it’s just fun to be around you guys. From [San Francisco Chronicle reporter] Eric [Branch] making the jokes to everything in between. It’s been a fun ride guys, and I really appreciate you for that. And yeah, I’ll miss you guys. Thank you guys again. Faithful, thank you very much for everything. It’s been crazy, man. Just all the comebacks at Levi’s, comebacks on the road, ups and downs. It’s been a hell of a ride guys. I love you guys.”