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Jimmy Garoppolo May Not Be The Class Act He Has Seemed Like

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers walks to the huddle during the 2nd quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

After Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Patrick Willis, the leaders who took them to Super Bowl XLVII, departed the San Francisco 49ers in the mid-2010s, it looked like the team was about to enter another extended dark period similar to what it went through in the 2000s.

But when it traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the 2017 season, there was plenty of hope all of a sudden in the Bay.

The 49ers won each of Garoppolo’s first five starts with them, and after he missed most of the 2018 campaign with an ACL injury, they returned to the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 season, where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs after holding a sizable lead in the fourth quarter.

Entering the 2022 season, San Francisco has decided to hand the keys over to Trey Lance, something that many saw coming ever since it traded lots of draft capital to get him in last year’s NFL draft.

Through the whole QB controversy, Garoppolo seemed to handle it all with class – but now reports have surfaced that he may not be as much of a class act as he seemed.

 

Garoppolo Ghosted The Team After It Gave Him A Huge Contract

Shortly after trading for him, the 49ers gave Garoppolo a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension to be their signal-caller of the future.

At the time, it was the biggest contract extension ever given to a QB.

But for a period of time afterward, no one in the organization could get hold of him.

“Once he left that press conference, nobody heard from him for weeks and weeks,” recalled one member of that coaching staff. “He didn’t return calls, he didn’t return texts — he basically just vanished. And we were looking at each other going, ‘What just happened?’”

Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk said on Wednesday that Garoppolo’s big contract signing wasn’t the only time he did this.

“I’ve heard this from players, ex-coaches there,” Simms said. “He goes off radar all the time. All the time! Nobody can get in contact with him.”

“His first year and offseason there, that’s when I was made aware of it. I’m not going to name the player, but I was at an event, and the player, who was a long-standing player with the 49ers, was like, ‘I can’t get the quarterback to call me back. I’ve called him every day for a month.’

“You hear it from everybody. I’ve heard it from ex-coaches who have moved on and have just gone, ‘Yeah, it’s weird.’ The organization has tried to reach out to him and explain things to him, and they can’t get a hold of him. To the point where I think they’ve had to drive to his house and knock on his door, and be like, ‘Hello? Are you alive? Are you there?’”

This especially has become problematic during the offseason, when NFL coaching staffs like to give players a checklist of items to improve on.

 

Garoppolo Is At Training Camp, But He’s Not With The Team

It’s no secret the 49ers have been trying to trade Garoppolo, and one would think he has been working pretty hard in training camp, readying himself for action with one of the other 31 NFL teams.

Not quite.

“‘So,’ I asked Niners GM John Lynch Sunday, ‘what’s the story with Jimmy Garoppolo? What’s he been doing every day?’” wrote Peter King of Pro Football Talk.

“From his office desk in the shadow of the 49ers’ stadium, Lynch craned his neck toward the picture window on the side of his office. He pointed to the far practice field, where a solitary figure was working out and throwing footballs efficiently.

“Garoppolo, who quarterbacked this team to a win over Aaron Rodgers and the top-seeded Packers eight months ago, is a strange sight to behold these days. He works out, throws and rehabs apart from his teammates, most often when they’re inside in meetings. When the other 89 men on the San Francisco roster are practicing outside, Garoppolo is usually inside, or on his way home. I heard he does not have a playbook, does not attend quarterback or team meetings and barely knows new quarterbacks coach Brian Griese.”

All this cannot help San Francisco’s efforts to trade Garoppolo, let alone get something of value for him.

The Cleveland Browns have been discussed as an option, especially now that they know starting quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended for 11 games this season.

It seems they’d rather have a proven option such as Garoppolo than Jacoby Brissett, their current QB2, but their interest in the former seems tepid at best.

The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks supposedly had interest in Garoppolo earlier this offseason, but even though both teams have meager options under center, they weren’t serious about trading for him.

When rookie QB Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick in this spring’s draft, went down with a knee injury during his first preseason game, it seemed the New York Jets may want to make a play for Garoppolo.

But they’re not interested either, as they’d rather go with a geriatric Joe Flacco while Wilson recovers.

While the focus in the Bay has shifted to Lance and his bright potential, as well as the stacked team he has around him, it looks like the Garoppolo era will end with a sad, discordant whimper.




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