SANTA CLARA, CA – Now that he’s back in the role of the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo has a lot to do this week. But before he can dive fully again, be sure to connect with the man who will replace him: injured quarterback Trey Lance.
Speaking to the media Thursday for the first time since he interfered with Lance in last week’s win against the Seattle Seahawks, Garoppolo said he’s spoken to Lance several times this week and also interacted with him via Zoom when he called Lance into meetings.
Garoppolo’s advice? Try to remain as positive as possible.
“I heard [defensive end Nick] “Bossa put pressure on the other day and he formulated it really well because there comes a moment when you feel like your life is over and you feel like you can’t go back to where you were,” Garoppolo said. You have to get to a point where you pass and mentally move from that. There will be obstacles for him to overcome, but I’ve been around Trey for two years now. He’s a tough guy, so he’ll be fine.”
On Monday morning, Lance underwent surgery at Stanford Hospital to repair a fibula fracture and ligament damage to his right ankle. The 49ers have expressed optimism that the Lance will be ready to go in time for the start of the 2023 NFL season.
“He’s doing the best you can,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. We’ve all talked to him a number of guys, and he’s trying to come into the game this week. I don’t think he’ll be able to, until the swelling goes down, but he and a part of us will come back sooner rather than later.”
Returning to the field on Sunday, Garoppolo said it was like “riding a bike,” but he also didn’t have much time to think about the long, awkward ride that brought him back to the job he’s held for most of the past five years.
Asked Thursday if that trip was surreal, Garoppolo said it did and it wasn’t.
“Just because of the way it went, it’s just so crazy,” Garoppolo said. “But I don’t know, everything happens for a reason, I’m a big believer in that and this is just another chance.”
For now, Garoppolo said he’s “trying to stay in the moment” and re-coping with the San Francisco offensive. Garoppolo said last week’s match was similar to what it was in 2017 when he was first traded to the Niners and did not know the offense.
Since he was new at the time and took the helm of the team with just one win at that point, Garoppolo had more freedom to improvise. This week, he got his first reps with the primary attack since before the NFC Championship game in January.
It’s been nearly eight months since then and Garoppolo has felt every part of that after undergoing right shoulder surgery and the corresponding rehabilitation. And now, under conditions that no one wanted, the feeling of normalcy had returned.
“Long break, no OTAs, no training camp, it’s been a different kind of year and I’ve been through some distinctly weird situations here,” Garoppolo said. “But it does have some good and bad things. The shoulder feels good and it’s obviously No. 1, so once I feel my body better, the rest of the things just fall into place.”
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