“It was a hell of a ride”

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Before Jimmy Garoppolo wrapped up his 17-minute season-ending press conference, he wanted to deliver a message to the San Francisco 49ers fans who have supported him for the past five seasons.

“It’s been crazy, man. Just all the Levi’s feedback, road feedback, ups and downs. It was a hell of a ride guys,” he said. “I love you.”

While Garoppolo’s tenure as 49ers quarterback isn’t officially over as he has one year left on his contract and coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have said no final decision is made. has been taken, all signs indicate that an exchange will be made in the future. months and San Francisco handed over the team to Trey Lance.

Lynch and Shanahan spoke to Garoppolo on Monday after the Niners began their offseason following the 20-17 loss to the Rams in the NFC title game and promised to keep an open line of communication.

“When you have a quarterback who played like Jimmy did last year, we have a young man waiting for an opportunity eventually,” Shanahan said. “There are a lot of good options out there and that’s why all the cards are on the table. It’s cool that we’re in a place where all the cards can be on the table, because usually they’re not in that situation.

While the Niners aren’t ruling out the possibility of Garoppolo’s return, a trade remains the most logical scenario.

San Francisco gave up three first-round picks to draft Lance third overall last spring and named him quarterback of the future.

The Niners kept Garoppolo for the 2021 season because they felt Lance needed time to develop after starting just 17 games in college at North Dakota State at the FCS level.

Garoppolo said he appreciated Lynch’s honesty with him throughout the process and hoped to go see a competitor.

“John was very clear with that,” he said. “I think they are trying to do their best for me. I’m trying to do my best for them and we’re working together on that, we really haven’t made too much progress on that, but I think things are going to start happening here pretty quickly.

The Niners acquired Garoppolo from New England for a second-round pick in 2017 after losing the first eight games of the Shanahan-Lynch regime. Garoppolo provided a season-ending spark with five wins and signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract in the offseason.

He dealt with injuries in 2018 and 2020 but helped San Francisco reach the Super Bowl in 2019 where they lost to the Chiefs.

Garoppolo’s limitations and injuries led to the decision to trade for Lance, but Garoppolo did almost everything the Niners could have hoped for this season in helping them reach the NFC title game.

He said the trade for Lance was difficult at times, but also allowed him to focus on enjoying the season with his teammates.

Garoppolo threw for 3,810 yards and 20 touchdowns during the regular season and led a game-winning drive in the Divisional Round against Green Bay.

But he’s struggled throughout the playoffs while dealing with thumb and shoulder injuries, showing why the Niners looked for his replacement last offseason and now he’s heading for an uncertain future.

“I knew it would happen eventually, but you can never be fully prepared for times like these,” he said. “It’s just weird. You put yourself through all these things, you put yourself forward as a player, you make all these good relationships and then you know, things stop. But that’s just life You have to keep moving on, getting things done and enjoying the moment.

The Niners also touched on several other topics:

–Lynch said it would be a priority to lock up rusher Nick Bosa and wide receiver Deebo Samuel with long-term contracts this offseason. The team’s top two picks of 2019 are eligible for extensions for the first time.

“We totally understand that these guys are the mainstays of what we’re trying to do here,” Lynch said.

– Shanahan said defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans texted him on the team bus after the game to let him know he was stepping down from the head coaching search at Minnesota and would return for a second season as coordinator.

“DeMeco is a stallion,” Shanahan said. “DeMeco is going to be head coach. He’s too good not to be, be it this year, be it next year, be it anytime, but DeMeco is going to be head coach.

–Shanahan said offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel will interview for the position of Miami Dolphins head coach on Thursday.


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