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Jimmy Garoppolo’s sympathy for Jason Verrett speaks for 49ers

By Cam Inman

SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo apologized for sounding “cold-hearted,” as right as he was that the 49ers simply must move on yet again without cornerback Jason Verrett.

But Garoppolo also expressed sincere sympathy, to the point Thursday that his near-teary emotions reflected those of so many inside the 49ers’ locker room.

“You see it all the time,” Garoppolo began, “but in our locker room, for a guy you’ve been a brother with for as long as Jason (since 2019), you’ve seen him go through the process of injury after injury, and just grinding to come back, it’s just tough when you see a guy go down like that.”

The 49ers (4-4) were riding high after routing the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 30, then getting recharged over last weekend’s bye. Aside from a team-wide prayer on the practice field after Verrett’s injury Wednesday, Garoppolo said there wasn’t exactly a need for someone to rally the troops, that the 49ers are conditioned to push through adversity such as fallen colleagues.

After all, Sunday night, their season resumes in prime time against the Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) at Levi’s Stadium. The NFL world continues to spin regardless of who gets hurt, even if it’s a beloved veteran who’s still missed 85 of his past 101 games like Verrett.

Garoppolo is not one of the 49ers’ six captains — he previously was in 2020-21 — but his job title as quarterback demands that he act like one and keep the team focused on the task at hand.

“We all put in so much work. The time you put into this game, it’s unforgiving,” Garoppolo added. “When you see something happen like that, it breaks your heart. But, that’s football.”

That’s definitely 49ers football.

Garoppolo issued similar condolences after his brief successor, Trey Lance, sustained a season-ending ankle fracture in the Sept. 18 home opener. More injuries, of course, followed to others.

“It’s happened to me, it’s happened to all of us. You just have to live with it,” Garoppolo added. “Prayers up for him. I love that guy, man. I feel for him.”

Garoppolo (knock on that walnut-wooden locker) has dodged the injury bug this year. His health record — 2018 anterior cruciate ligament tear, 2020 high-ankle sprains — helped spur the 49ers into drafting Lance with the No. 3 overall pick last year. Then came last winter, when he tore a ligament in his right thumb while losing at Tennessee, then jammed his right shoulder in a playoff-opening win at Dallas.

Eight months after surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, Garoppolo is still regaining strength “to make throws you used to make. I don’t think that will ever go away completely.”

As his arm gets stronger and stamina improves, his signature asset was rediscovered early in his rehab process, that being his quick release.

“The release, there was definitely a time I was scared for a second I lost it, but, thankfully, it’s still there,” Garoppolo said.

Now comes the “fun” task of getting that ball to a full complement of play makers, from new arrival Christian McCaffrey to trusted agents in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and more, including Elijah Mitchell, the season-opening starting running back who’s expected back.

“There was a moment (Wednesday) where it was awkward and kind of quiet,” Garoppolo said of Verrett’s injury. “You have to move on, as cold-hearted as it sounds. It’s part of the business.”

The next order of business is for Garoppolo, via his scouting report, to identify where Chargers safety Derwin James is lurking and where Khalil Mack might be coming for him.

Business must yield more wins in the weeks ahead for the 49ers to reach their third postseason in four years — all with Garoppolo at the helm.

Source: Paradise Post