49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo aims for physical ‘durability’ in 2021, thankful for Richard Sherman’s tutoring

Jimmy Garoppolo’s No. 1 goal this offseason: Durability.
As for which team he’ll be playing in 2021, he voiced his devotion to the 49er and his gratitude over coach Kyle Shanahan’s mutual feelings.
Garoppolo spoke on his injury history and 2021 plans while meeting over a video conference with the media Monday morning, a day after the 49ers ended a 6-10 season and two months after leaving his final game with another high ankle sprain.
While speculation persists whether he’ll return for a fifth season under Shanahan, Garoppolo claimed he hasn’t thought about it much, that he’s solely focused on earning his teammates’ respect, teammates he wants to remain with on the 49ers.
“I’m a 49er. I’m here to play quarterback. I’m here to be the quarterback of this team,” Garoppolo said. “Every day I go out there trying to prove that to my teammates and my coaches. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. The people in this building, I love every one of them. It’s a great group to be around.
“John and Kyle, they’ve talked to the media and said what they’ve said and I love those guys for it. This is where I want to be. I love it here.”
Garoppolo is owed $24 million in salary over the final two seasons of what was a record-setting contract in 2018. The 49ers are 22-8 when he’s started and 6-26 without him since 2017, not including last season’s postseason that ended with a Super Bowl defeat.
Garoppolo said all is going well with his right ankle, he initially sprained it in Week 2, got pulled in Week 5 at halftime as it flared up on him, and got sprained again Nov. 1 to end his year.
Having missed most of the 2018 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Garoppolo is well aware his durability is a target for criticism. He called his injuries “an unfortunate series of events,” but did not blame it all on bad luck, as he will explore new diet and workout regimens this offseason to get his body ready for a 2021 comeback.
Garoppolo, aside from rehabbing, also used these past two months to get his mind sharper, and he did that by studying the 49ers’ games and jotting notes from his spot in a luxury suite with other injured teammates, including Richard Sherman.
“Talking schemes, he has a very interesting outlook,” Garoppolo said of Sherman. “I told him this yesterday at the game: ‘Dude, I’ve learned so much the last couple weeks of talking to you.’ As a quarterback, you think you know defenses and what they’re thinking, but now you talk to a cornerback who’s been doing it for so long, it was very insightful.”
Garoppolo’s teammates seem as commited to him as ever.
“Jimmy is one of the most natural born leaders I’ve ever been around,” said linebacker Fred Warner, who served as a captain this year with Garoppolo and five others. “From the moment I stepped on this team, he was the one people looked to. He’s for sure the No. 1 guy that guys look to for the leadership role, and that’ swhat you have to expect out of your franchise quarterback.”
Tight end George Kittle said he’s never been asked to talk about more than one person in his life than Garoppolo, and, for the quarterback’s sake, Kittle implored how valuable Garoppolo’s leadership is and how that should not merit any flack.
“Jimmy’s attributes that he brings, on top of leadership and the types of passes he throws and getting us into the right plays, everything he does, he elevates everyone around him, because he expects greatness from his teammates and from himself,” Kittle said.
“I know we missed him in games he didn’t play. Guys played well in his absence. But there’s a a reason we went to the Super Bowl when he played in all these games,” Kittle added. “There’s a reason he’ll bring us back to where we want to be. Jimmy’s a good friend of mine but I think he’s also a hell of a football player.”
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Here is the complete transcript from Jimmy Garoppolo’s media session:
On his right ankle, which he sprained Sept. 20 and Nov. 1:
“The ankle is doing good. We’re in a good spot right now. It’s progressed the just way I wanted it to right now. It’s not at 100 percent but it’s about gettin reps at this point, getting endurance back to it and durability and everything. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.”
On 2021 offseason:
“It’s all about being out there. It’s all about availability. I know that. It’s been a series of unfortunate events with the injuries. One thing I’m excited about is getting ready for this offseason, getting the body back to where it needs to be to get ready for next season. There’s so many things that I have in mind and have planned. I’m ready to attack this offseason.”
On how to avoid injuries:
“There’s obviously a little bad luck but you can’t associate everything with that. I always try to look for new things for my body; new things to eat, new exercises, workout routines, whatever. I try to mix it up in the offseason and find what works for me. I’ll do the same this offseason. I’ll get advice from people and see what they’ve done in the past. It’s a bunch of things coming together.”
On the 49ers’ training staff:
“Those guys work their butt off, they really do, all of them. It’s a great group, from the interns to the top. It’s very professional and just the right way to do it. I really appreciate them for that. As far as all the injuries and criticism, there’s things we can prevent as players, but there’s things that just happen on the field and it’s football. You know, people are going to get hurt. We signed up for it. It’s just about being available and being out there for your team and that’s what is going to make us a good team next year.”
On being part of the core group:
“We have a great core here, we really do. But it’s the little pieces around, that Kyle and John do a great job bringing in the right people. Whether it’s the custodian or whatever, they bring in the right people, and when they think the same way and work toward the same goal, it leads to great things. We have a great core, from the captains to the bottom guy on the totem pole. It’s a great group I love being around. I appreciate all those things that guys say about me. I can’t wait to get to next year, man. Honestly, It’s been eating at me.”
On his future  and the organization and assurances:
“I honestly haven’t put too much thought into it. All those things get said. At the end of the day, I’m a 49er. I’m here to play quarterback. I’m here to be the quarterback of this team.
“Every day I go out there trying to prove that to my teammates and my coaches. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. The people in this building, I love every one of them. It’s a great group to be around. John and Kyle, they’ve talked to the media and said what they’ve said and I love those guys for it.
“This is where I want to be. I love it here.”
On the conversation around him:
“It’s more so being out there with the guys, with injuries and everything. That’s my main motivation. All the other stuff, people are going to talk. I know what I signed up for when I became a quarterback. The people in this building are what I really care about. All the speculation is going to be out there, but you’ve just got to come work and do your job every day, come in with a good mindset. We have a lot of guys with that mindset. It’s fun to be around.”
On if he has down moments:
“Absolutely. Prior in my career, I’ve never really had injuries so I didn’t really know how to deal with it. It comes with the sport, I guess. I have to do my best to prevent and do whatever I can in the offseason to get my body right to handle a whole season and get my mind right that way.
“The motivation that comes with injuries, though, is something unlike anything I’ve ever had. When you’re not out there with your guys, your teammates, as a quarterback, i’s really hard and I hate the feeling. It’s a very helpless feeling. I just want to be out there with my guys battling on the field.”
On ankle injury and if came back too quick:
“The first time, yeah. I went two weeks without being out there, and I don’t like that feeling. I wasn’t used to it. I just wanted to be out there there with my guys. Maybe I rushed it. Maybe I didn’t. But I wouldn’t change it.”
On what work he’s been doing watching games:
“It was pretty cool being up in the box. I had a call sheet with me, going through plays, mentally try to go through as much as possible and talk to guys up there with me. Being injured most of the season, I had a lot of time up there to figure out some things that could help me in the future. I tried to make the best of the situation.”
On notes he took in suite sitting next to George Kittle and Richard Sherman:
“I sat next to Sherm the last couple games and I really tried to pick his brain, just in a casual way, but at the same time, he’s very insightful. Sherm’s a very bright guy. He knows both sides of the ball. Talking schemes, he has a very interesting outlook. I told him this yesterday at the game: ‘Dude, I’ve learned so much the last couple weeks of talking to you.’
“As a quarterback, you think you know defenses and what they’re thinking, but now you talk to a cornerback who’s been doing it for so long, it was very insightful. I learned a lot.
“Sherm is one on my favorite teammates I’ve been with. He’s one of those guys you’d love to be around, love his attitude. He’s one of a kind.”
On where he must improve:
“As far as next season, I’ll make a list of goals for myself, whether it’s working on my accuracy, working on intermediate throws. But the durability is No. 1 right now. So we’ll attack that. As long as the ankle’s good, we’ll be in a good spot. We’ve got some good players, keep everyone healthy, have a good offseason, I think we’ll be in a good spot next year.”
On free agency changes:
“It’s tough. I’ve been in this league a while, and i’ve been on some teams and you go the the Super Bowl, you win the Super Bowl, and the next year, the team is completely different. That’s kind of the nature of the beasts. That’s how the NFL works. You create friendships and relationships with these guys, who you see more than your family in here every day, and then all of a sudden it just comes to a halt. It’s tough. But it’s part of the business. I’ll miss all those guys whoever doesn’t come back. It’ll definitely be different.”

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