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Jimmy Garoppolo Was 1st Person to Text Trey Lance, 49ers' John Lynch Says

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles at teammates on the bench during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said the first person to contact rookie quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, after he was selected was incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

"One thing that was really heartwarming to me, I heard last night that Jimmy reached out [to Lance]," Lynch told reporters Friday. "Trey was here today, and Trey told us that the first text he got was from Jimmy Garoppolo. So that's pretty special. I think it speaks to his class."

This wasn't a situation like last year's draft when the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers was blindsided by the front office's decision to add another quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round.

The Niners telegraphed their intent to add a future franchise QB in March when they made a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the No. 3 selection. The only question was which of the three marquee options—Lance, Mac Jones or Justin Fields—they would add to the roster.

They settled on Lance, a high-upside prospect out of North Dakota State with elite physical tools, and head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Garoppolo has been informed every step of the process.

"Jimmy knew what the deal was," Shanahan said Friday. "We have Zoom meetings every day. I got to see him on Zoom earlier that day and we had meetings and stuff. Jimmy has been great. ... Jimmy is taking it as a business approach. I think he's excited for right now, just talking to him, and he's ready to come here and get back to being healthy and playing with our team. And if we have him compete, I know he's ready to compete."

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The fifth-year head coach previously said it would be "very hard" for Lance to beat out Garoppolo to become the team's Week 1 starter.

Garoppolo was limited to six appearances in 2020 because of a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 2 that lingered for most of the year before he landed on injured reserve in November. He finished the season with just seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

The 29-year-old Illinois native had looked more like the Niners' long-term answer under center in 2019. He completed 69.1 percent of his throws for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 picks in 16 games to finish eighth in the NFL with a 102 passer rating.

San Francisco, which reached the Super Bowl in 2019 before falling to 6-10 amid an injury-riddled 2020, has a roster that can make some serious noise in the NFC with better quarterback play.

So it sounds like the 49ers' brass will at least give Garoppolo a chance in training camp and the preseason to prove he's prepared deliver a healthy, productive bounce-back campaign.

If he struggles, however, the calls to turn the offense over to Lance will grow louder with each passing week.

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