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Kyle Shanahan clarifies, ‘I can’t promise Jimmy Garoppolo will play this year’ comment

The 49ers will eventually play Jimmy Garoppolo. When remains the question.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers-Jimmy Garoppolo Press Conference Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are three days into the process of getting Jimmy Garoppolo into the process of learning Kyle Shanahan’s offense. It’s not something that can be done overnight, or even in the span of the remaining eight weeks. But as the 49ers look to their future, getting Garoppolo out on the field holds some value.

On Wednesday, Shanahan was asked about balancing getting Garoppolo into game action to see what he can do, versus sitting him this year so he can focus on learning the playbook. He gave a detailed answer that opened with this:

“Yeah, that’s why I have no certainty what we’ll do. That’s why I’m taking it one day at a time. I can’t promise you guys that he won’t play this week. I can’t promise you guys that he’ll play this year.”

National media jumped all over “I can’t promise you guys that he’ll play this year,” and ignored the previous line about not promising he won’t play this week. It got people buzzing as to maybe the 49ers just sit and wait with him into next year, even though that is not what he was saying in the slightest.

On Friday, Shanahan was on KNBR talking about Garoppolo, and he took a minute to clarify what he meant. Long story short, the idea was just that they will take it a day at a time to see how he grows accustomed to things. If it happens quickly, he’ll play quickly. If it takes a little longer to get him a little more comfortable, they’ll wait longer.

“I didn’t meant that he won’t. They were trying to ask me when he would and I said, we haven’t thought about that yet, we’re working on this every single day. We didn’t bring Jimmy here just to save our season, and to change our record, and to put that all on him. We brought Jimmy here because that opportunity presented itself, and we knew that would help our team and help our organization. We’re working with Jimmy every single day he’s been here, and we're going to continue to work with him, and we gotta make sure we give him an opportunity that, when he does go out there, he has a chance to be successful. I want to make sure our team's right, we can get some of our guys back, and I want to make sure when Jimmy goes in, he's able to function, knows what he's doing, and we're not just putting him in there to put him in there. We're putting him in there to help, and to help him, and to help our future.”

Naturally, the follow-up question was, when will Garoppolo play. He said Garoppolo would be active, and would need to be ready to go in if something happens, but otherwise, they will continue working with him to get him ready.

“We’ve had two practices with him, we’re gonna have three next week. Hopefully we can get some work with him during the bye week too, and we’ll take that day-by-day and we’ll see where him and our team’s at. I can’t tell the future, nor am I trying to tell the future. We’re just gonna work at it and do it when we feel it’s the best time for him and for our team.”