Jimmy Garoppolo is not partaking in any charades. He knows his time with the 49ers is over.
On Tuesday, Garoppolo gave his likely final press conference as a member of the organization which he’s been with for the last four-plus years.
Garoppolo’s presser began with him winning the Garry Niver Award from 49ers media, which he co-won with Trent Williams. It honors the player who is most cooperative and helpful with the media.
He thanked the media, saying, “It’s been a fun four years,” beginning a more than 15-minute question and answer session in which he made it clear he does not expect to return to the 49ers.
The highly-priced acquisition of Trey Lance was actually reassuring, Garoppolo said.
He knew this was his last season, and it allowed him to progress without worrying about whether the 49ers wanted to keep him around or not. He knew they did not, and he knew the timeline.
“It made things clear for me, honestly,” Garoppolo said. “It gave me a clear course of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish this year. It honestly made things simpler in some ways because the weight’s off my shoulders. Now let’s just go play football and enjoy this last year with the guys and create as many relationships as I could. And that’s really what I tried to do this year and I thought it worked out pretty well.”
The trade, and end of his tenure was expected by everyone after Lance was acquired.
But the finality with which Garoppolo spoke, leaving no doubt as to what the future would hold, was stunning.
“I knew this would happen eventually,” Garoppolo said. “But you can never be totally prepared for moments like these. Just weird you know, you put yourself through all these things, you put yourself out there as a player, I make all these great relationships and then things come to a halt. But that’s just life.”
There are expected to be a number of suitors for Garoppolo, with a fairly weak quarterback class, and a number of openings available on win-ready rosters, like Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Denver and Washington.
Situations with bigger names like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson will obviously affect what sort of market he has.
Garoppolo’s health is part of that equation, too. He said he would be evaluated over the next few days by a specialist to determine whether he’ll need surgery on his thumb, which is expected.
But Garoppolo is going to be traded, and he made a fairly simple request in what situation he wants to land in.
“I just want to go to a place where they want to win,” Garoppolo said. “That’s really what I’m in this game for. I’m here to play football here and win football games, and as long as I got that and good people around me, I think the rest will of take care of itself.”
He thinks the wheels will start to get moving fairly quickly, again embracing the finality of his situation, after saying the 49ers have been up front with him about how they’ll handle it.
Garoppolo took the opportunity at the end of his presser to provide a goodbye to media and fans.
“It’s been a fun ride guys and I really appreciate you for that,” Garoppolo said. “I’ll miss you guys.”
“Faithful, thank you very much for everything. It’s been crazy, man. Just all the comebacks at Levi’s, comebacks on the road, ups and downs, it’s been a hell of a ride guys.
“I love you guys. So, see ya.”