SANTA CLARA -- As the Jimmy Garoppolo era comes to a close for the 49ers, there are no hard feelings between the veteran quarterback and his replacement, Trey Lance.
It’s something Lance made clear at the end of last season as Garoppolo said his apparent farewells. But after an offseason of speculation and trade rumors, the team’s longtime starter remains on the roster despite coach Kyle Shanahan officially naming Lance as QB1.
After his second practice at the helm of the offense on Thursday, Lance reiterated to reporters that there’s nothing but respect between the pair.
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They spoke on Tuesday and Wednesday when Garoppolo was in the building for both his physical and his throwing program, Lance said, and they remain on good terms.
“I said what’s up to Jimmy yesterday … I mean, it is what it is,” Lance said Thursday. “It’s nothing weird at all. Like I said, I’ve never had anything I could possibly say that’s bad about Jimmy.
“I mean, he’s been a big bro to me since the day I came in. He could have made things hell for me, honestly, last year. But he didn’t.”
Even amid comparison and speculation concerning himself and Lance during the 2021 season, Garoppolo took the rookie quarterback under his wing. Now, Lance hopes to see his teammate succeed in whatever opportunity comes next.
San Francisco 49ers
“He helped me out with everything, so I’m super excited to see him healthy, super excited to see him throwing again, and super excited to see what he does,” Lance said.
Lance isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, player to commend Garoppolo’s demeanor in the face of a tough situation. The writing was on the wall for the 30-year-old signal-caller when the 49ers picked Lance No. 3 overall in 2021, after trading away major draft capital to move up.
But throughout his four full seasons with San Francisco -- and especially through 2021 -- Garoppolo was known to have the respect of his teammates in the locker room as a leader.
Now that Lance is under center, he hopes to step into that role -- and plans on taking “everything” from how Garoppolo carried himself, he said.
“He was a great leader on this team,” Lance continued. “He handled himself the right way. The way he went about his business, he was locked in every single day. Just a true professional.”
The 49ers saw plenty of success under Garoppolo, along with their fair share of lows.
But it’s how Garoppolo handled those lows, and how he treated Lance throughout the process, that the young quarterback hopes to take with him into his first full season as a starting quarterback.
And no matter where Garoppolo ends up this season, it’s clear he’ll always have a friend in Lance.