Lance, Garoppolo insist no awkwardness, explain offseason timeline after role reversal

Chris Mezzavilla

It’s been a long, winding, weird road to get to this point. But here we are. Jimmy Garoppolo will remain with the 49ers, for at least the immediate future.

He and Trey Lance took the podium on Thursday (not in that order) after a decision that stunned folks in and out of the league. A summer with a thesis of dealing Garoppolo concluded with him in red and gold for another season.

First things first. Awkwardness, weird vibes, friction; do Lance and Garoppolo feel uncomfortable with the role reversal after the expectation Garoppolo would depart.

They say there is no such awkwardness, and did their best to convey earnestness in saying so. They pointed to the fact that they got through last season together while on good terms, indicating it’s a similar situation.

“Me and Trey, honestly, I know a lot of stuff gets made in the media and shit like that, but we have a good relationship, man,” Garoppolo said. “We went through it last year. It was very similar to this situation, so it’s not like we haven’t done it before.”

So, just, hunky-dory then? All good? Jimmy’s just cool as the backup, and Trey’s happy to have him back?

It’s never quite that simple, but Garoppolo both have come off as fairly low-maintenance quarterbacks with affable dispositions. Kyle Shanahan put them in what could have been an awkward position last season, and is making it far more awkward this year. He’s stated time and time again that this is Lance’s team now to make sure there are no questions.

But if you’re Garoppolo, are you not bothered by the benching?

“If that’s going to take a blow to your ego, you got to check your ego a little bit,” Garoppolo said. “But no, I think you got to know where you are in this league, who you are as a player, who you are as a person and I think that’s going to carry you a long way and so that’s why I’m really not too concerned about that.”

Now, how about timeline?

We got a far more detail-oriented timeline from Garoppolo on Thursday than at any other point leading up to this season. He made it clear that, even with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch pondering the idea of him returning about a month ago, this all came together very quickly.

Here are the main points of order:

  • Garoppolo’s thumb, which was initially thought to need surgery, “wasn’t as serious as the shoulder was.”
  • He was trying to avoid surgery and believed, in part because he played for a few games with the shoulder injury, that he could rehab the injury.
  • It turned out the shoulder wasn’t making progress with rehab, and three-to-four weeks after the season and rehabbing it, the decision was made to get surgery.
  • Garoppolo was aware that could put a halt on trades, but didn’t see any alternative: “Yeah, I mean, you know, in the back of your head, [trade talks halting] could happen, but you got to take care of your body.”
  • He did not expect to return until this last week: “[Coming back to the 49ers] really wasn’t on my mind to be completely honest… I knew that I was ready to roll, I just needed to figure out where it was. And things kind of fell into place these last couple of days really, just right before it all happened.”
  • Why didn’t Garoppolo ask for his release at any point? “That just wasn’t the way I wanted it to go,” Garoppolo said. “There was a thought of that at one point, trust me, there was. But that came and went and things just kind of kept falling into place. I’m one of those people that, I don’t want really ruffle the feathers too much here and there and kind of want to just go with the flow.”

So, here we are, with Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers’ quarterbacks for a second-straight season.

The pecking order is just a little bit different.

“I’m happy the way it worked out,” Garoppolo said. “I don’t think it was the exact way I wanted it to work out, but everything happens for a reason.”


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