Jimmy Garoppolo, the new franchise quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, had his celebratory press conference and spoke about how easy of a decision it was for him to stay in Santa Clara. After much success at the end of the 2017 season and a need for a quarterback on several teams, Garoppolo could have been in high demand if allowed to hit free agency and negotiate with other teams. That didn’t happen. The 49ers and Garoppolo’s team quickly inked a huge deal that will keep the quarterback in the Bay Area for years to come. Garoppolo, among other things, said he was “excited to make this his home for five years, maybe more. I hope to be here for a long time.”
Garoppolo remained mum about his future during the season but did mention how special the locker room was in his end of the season presser:
When I first came in they didn’t have any wins but it was still a very tight knit group. To have that is rare. Especially [when] bad things happen, people want to start pointing fingers but there was none of that in here. Everyone had each other’s back, looking out for each other and it made for a good group.
Garoppolo made a similar comment in reference to why it was an easy decision for him to remain in Santa Clara instead of testing the open market:
From the first day I got here, my teammates, the coaching staff were very accepting of me and that’s kind of rare in an NFL locker room. There are a lot of different types of personalities in there so for them to accept me so quickly, it made my life a lot easier. So just as the season went on, it was as easy decision for me.
This is a significant compliment to general manager John Lynch and his staff for the locker room they have assembled as well as the leadership of Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff. To face the adversity of losing nine games to start the season and not have players lose focus and faith in each other is an accomplishment. You can read what you want in to Garoppolo’s comment. While he doesn’t say anything directly about his former team, the only other NFL locker room he has been a part of is the Patriots.
The feeling is clearly mutual between Garoppolo and his teammates. When asked about what makes Garoppolo such a great leader, Eli Harold stated:
He’s just so unique! I’ve never been around a guy who’s energy was that infectious. Jimmy G had the defense going. I feel like he gave the team so much confidence. He’s a real one.