Jimmy Garoppolo is grateful to have learned from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play football.
The 49ers veteran was poised for a breakout season in 2018 after escaping Tom Brady’s shadow in New England, but a knee injury four weeks into the season halted those plans.
Now preparing for his comeback, Garoppolo still credits the Patriots star for helping him develop and ultimately be able to bounce back after studying under him for the first three years of his NFL career.
“The preparation as a whole was tremendous just to see it, to be in the same room as it, to learn from it,” Garoppolo told The Ringer’s Kevin Clark.
“To be a rookie and see that, it was invaluable. I can barely put it into words. What you learn is playing the game within the game, that’s a big part of Tom. I don’t even know if he told me that [directly], but he would always talk about the game within the game. He would talk about the snap count, and he’d say, ‘You’re going to go on two on this play’ and he’d have a specific reason.”
Garoppolo, 27, signed the biggest contract in league history at the time last year, a five-year deal worth $137.5 million that carried a salary cap hit of $37 million, though he went down with the season-ending injury Sept. 23 against the Chiefs and had surgery Oct. 3. He threw for 718 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions before being sidelined.
Now healthy again with some new targets after the Niners added Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd this offseason, Garoppolo is feeling optimistic about the future.
“The rehab has been great. The whole process, the training staff, and all the coaches put together a great plan. It really went well. To participate in [offseason training activities] the way I did and, hopefully, being full-go for training camp, I couldn’t ask for much more coming off an ACL,” Garoppolo said. “Knock on wood; we’ll keep it going and stay in a good place.”
The Niners are scheduled to open training camp July 26.