Trey Lance is still super appreciative of Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

While things could have been way more awkward, 49ers quarterback Trey Lance continues to shower his predecessor, Jimmy Garoppolo, with praise.

Quarterback Trey Lance admitted things could have been either tense or outright hostile not long after the San Francisco 49ers used the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select him, essentially indicating they were going to turn the page on their incumbent signal-caller, Jimmy Garoppolo.

It wouldn’t have been anything new.

Niners fans from decades ago may recall the awkwardness that surrounded two Hall of Fame quarterbacks vying for the same job, Joe Montana and Steve Young, and they didn’t particularly get along back when San Francisco was experimenting with that transition in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

And in more recent years, other teams like the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers had awkward standoffs when both Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively, were scornfully looking at rookie quarterbacks drafted with the presumption of eventually replacing them.

Not between Garoppolo and Lance, though.

OK, so Lance isn’t trying to upend a future Hall of Famer (sorry, Jimmy G… you’re not one). Yet it could have been tense for all of 2021. And that tensity could have continued over into 2022, too, especially with the 49ers looking to trade Garoppolo in advance of Week 1.

Things haven’t gone that way between the two quarterbacks, however.

Trey Lance reinforces appreciation of Jimmy Garoppolo during training camp

The Niners have all but named Lance their starting quarterback entering the new season. While technically present at San Francisco’s practice facility, Garoppolo has remained off the field despite being cleared to throw again.

Somewhat awkward? Perhaps. But that’s not the way Lance is looking at it, rather he didn’t hesitate to show his appreciation for Garoppolo when speaking to the press on Thursday:

"It is what it is. It’s nothing weird at all. Like I said, I’ve never had anything I could possibly say that’s bad about Jimmy. I mean, he’s been a big bro to me since the day I came in. He could have made things hell for me, honestly, last year. He didn’t, he helped me out with everything. So I’m super excited to see him healthy, super excited to see him throwing again and super excited to see what he does."

Not long after the 49ers acquired Lance, Garoppolo expressed how he felt it better to take the rookie under his wing and serve as a mentor, not unlike how Jimmy G received some tutelage from quarterback Tom Brady back when both were with the New England Patriots, citing it as “coming full circle.”

Read More: 49ers poised to trade Jimmy Garoppolo during training camp

And even though the Niners are looking at closing the door on the Garoppolo era, Lance isn’t seeing it as an awkward transition:

"I mean everything, yeah, he was a great leader on this team. He handled himself the right way, the way he went about his business. He was locked in every single day. Just, just a true professional."

For as messy as the whole Garoppolo and Lance storyline has been since April of 2021, namely to controversy over who should start and which signal-caller San Francisco should roll with going forward, at least these two players were able to make it work about as well as they could have.

Now, it’ll be up to Lance to absorb what he learned from Jimmy G.

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