Jimmy Garoppolo

Garoppolo planned to play in Super Bowl if 49ers beat Eagles

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Jimmy Garoppolo watched from the sidelines as the 49ers' 2022 NFL season came crumbling down in the NFC Championship Game, but that would've been a different story had the team advanced to Super Bowl LVII.

After Brock Purdy suffered a serious injury in his right throwing elbow during the first quarter of San Francisco's title game against the Philadelphia Eagles and backup quarterback Josh Johnson entered the game, Garoppolo already was looking to the future and envisioned himself as the starter under center for the 49ers in Glendale, Ariz.

"Oh yeah, I was playing," Garoppolo said in an exclusive interview with The San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Silver. "That was kind of the plan of not getting the surgery."

When then-49ers QB1 Trey Lance went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2, Garoppolo stepped in seamlessly, playing 11 straight games with an 8-3 record, including five straight victories, until sustaining a left foot injury in Week 13.

That's when rookie phenom Brock Purdy took over and stunned the entire league, extending the 49ers' win streak to 12 until the heartbreaking loss to the Eagles.

While watching Purdy lead the way, Garoppolo contemplated getting surgery to repair his foot injury, but 49ers team doctors concluded that it didn't require surgery and had a recovery timeline of about two months. So, Garoppolo didn't get the surgery and was betting on a shot to return for the biggest game of the season.

That decision ultimately ended up costing him after signing with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. Garoppolo originally failed to pass a physical, but he and the team came to an agreement by changing the terms of his contract, and after surgery and rehab, he passed his physical at the start of Raiders training camp and has stayed healthy thus far.

"Honestly it was just an unlucky situation," Garoppolo said. "The one toe (the second toe on his left foot) just wouldn’t heal. It was a deep crack, one of those. And the other two bones did heal. It was a weird situation, but I think we made the best of it. They wanted me to get surgery. I’m glad I did now, looking back on it."

While his days with the Red and Gold are over, it didn't take long for Garoppolo to reunite with his former team as the 49ers and Raiders are holding joint practices Thursday and Friday before their preseason opener Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.

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