At 22 years old, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Eastern Illinois by the New England Patriots. The young quarterback spent the next four seasons in Foxborough, Massachusetts as Tom Brady's backup and was on two Super Bowl-winning teams.
"My time in New England was awesome," Garoppolo said on NBC Sports Bay Area's 49ers Talk Podcast. "I enjoyed every bit of it. It got me to where I'm at today."
Under Brady's spotlight, Garoppolo developed his professional career and when he did have a chance to play, he completed 63-of-94 passes for 690 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions through 17 games. This includes Garoppolo's lone two career starts in 2016 where he stepped in for a suspended Brady and led the Patriots to a 2-0 record to open the season.
"(Brady) helped me with things off the field and on the field," Garoppolo said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. "Anything I had a question about, for two years there it was just me and him in the meeting room together. How to go about your business, how to be a professional quarterback. And there's little things that people don't even realize, just how you carry yourself and he does that better than anybody. All those things put together, guy's got five rings for a reason."
In 2017, Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers and has led his team to two NFC Championship games through a four and a half-year span. His .712 career win percentage ranks fifth in NFL history, behind only Patrick Mahomes, Brady, Roger Staubach and Lamar Jackson.
Meanwhile, after 20 seasons with the Patriots, Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020. In that same season, he led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory, adding a seventh-career victory to his record.
On Tuesday, Brady announced his retirement after playing 22 seasons in the NFL. Earning five Super Bowl MVP trophies and three regular-season NFL MVP titles, he leads the league in passing yards (84,520), touchdown passes (624) and quarterback wins (243).
"Absolutely incredible career, best ever to do it," Garoppolo said. "Just so happy for him, all he's accomplished. I'm grateful for everything I've learned from Tom … I think he's going to really enjoy retirement. He's always on to the next thing and he always has things happening, but I'm very grateful for what he taught me as a player and as a person. He really just helped me grow as a man. I really appreciate him for that and wish him nothing but the best."