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Garoppolo ready to get started for Raiders after brief delay

AP News

AP Sports Writer

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo’s introductory news conference was delayed a day, but after some details of his contract with the Las Vegas Raiders were finalized, he finally took the podium Friday.

Whether he’s the Raiders’ long-term answer at quarterback remains to be seen, and given Garoppolo’s injury history, that’s always a question.

He also could be a bridge for the Raiders, who own the No. 7 pick and five of the first 109 selections, if they try to find their quarterback of the future in next month’s draft. If so, that could put Garoppolo in a role similar to Alex Smith in 2017, when he served as a mentor before Patrick Mahomes became the Kansas City Chiefs’ starter.

“I’m coming in with the mindset that I need to earn everything,” Garoppolo said. “I don’t want to be given any, ‘You’re the franchise guy’ or whatever. I want to come in and earn it. I think that’ll come through hard work, working with the teammates, being at the facility.”

Garoppolo signed his three-year, $67.5 million contract Friday morning, $34 million of which is guaranteed.

He joins a Raiders team coming off a 6-11 season, but with an offense that includes wide receivers Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow as well as running back Josh Jacobs.

“Whenever you’ve got skill position guys like that, the run after catch, I’m a big believer,” Garoppolo said. “I think if you give them an accurate ball, if you’ve got the right guys that can make a play, we seem to have the right guys here.”

Garoppolo, 31, has had several significant injuries. In 2018, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in San Francisco’s third game, and in 2020 he missed eight games with ankle injuries.

The 49ers had planned to trade Garoppolo before last season and start Trey Lance, the third overall pick in the 2021 draft whom San Francisco gave up three first-round picks to acquire. Garoppolo underwent offseason shoulder surgery, killing trade interest in him from other clubs, so the 49ers re-signed him at a reduced deal.

When Lance was injured two games into the season, Garoppolo again took over as the starter. He was having his best year, throwing 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions in 10 games, before going down with a season-ending foot injury.

“You hate being in that situation,” Garoppolo said. “But once I got past that initial part, especially once we started to make a little bit of a run in the playoffs last year, I was getting ready to ramp up again and be ready. But things didn’t work out, and I’m glad with how things ended up.”

Barring another injury, Garoppolo likely will be the first Raiders opening-day starting quarterback not named Derek Carr when next season kicks off. The Raiders benched Carr with two games remaining and cut him after not being able to orchestrate an offseason trade with the New Orleans Saints. Carr eventually signed with the Saints on his own.

When healthy, Garoppolo has shown he can win. He went 38-17 with the 49ers since joining them at midseason in 2017. Garoppolo led the Niners to two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.

He made the point of saying he wants to take the Raiders to the Super Bowl championship.

“I know every player says that when they come up to their first press conference, but that’s my goal,” Garoppolo said. “I want to go get a ring, get the silver and black back to where it should be. I know it’s not an easy process. I went through it in San Francisco, lower end of the field when I first got there.”

Before joining the 49ers, Garoppolo was Tom Brady’s backup in New England from 2014 until he was traded West. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator.

Garoppolo said that while he won’t be starting from scratch in learning McDaniels’ system, so much time has passed after playing under San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan.

“I think revamping the mind is the first step, and then just relearning the language,” Garoppolo said. “Basically, it’s like going Spanish to French, something like that, and it won’t take long. But I think Josh’s offense, obviously, has evolved over the years, and (I’ve) just got to pick it up as quickly as possible.”

The Raiders re-signed defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. He played in eight games and started four last season after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. Tillery had 10 tackles.


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