What it’s like to play behind Tom Brady?

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remembers intense competition.
Then-New England Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady, left, and Jimmy Garoppolo wach from the sidelinea 2017 preseason game against the New York Giants in Foxborough, Mass.
Then-New England Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady, left, and Jimmy Garoppolo wach from the sidelinea 2017 preseason game against the New York Giants in Foxborough, Mass. [ WINSLOW TOWNSON | Associated Press (2017) ]
Published May 4, 2021|Updated May 4, 2021

TAMPA ― Kyle Trask doesn’t know what it will be like to learn how to play the quarterback position from Tom Brady. Like taking piano lessons from Beethoven or cleaning brushes for Rembrandt, perhaps.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Trask, the second-round pick from Florida. “He was one of my favorite quarterbacks growing up, so I have that opportunity to learn that knowledge from one of the greats is a great opportunity for me. I can’t wait to get this ball rolling, for sure.”

But Jimmy Garoppolo can tell Trask all about it.

Before he was shipped to the 49ers, much to Brady’s liking, Garoppolo was Brady’s apprentice and an heir apparent.

Of course, Brady had no intention of being unseated by a second-round pick from Eastern Illinois.

Now Garoppolo is in the same position with the 49ers as Brady was with the Patriots. San Francisco drafted North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance third overall Thursday.

Garoppolo says there was competition with Brady from the start but said Brady was willing to help.

“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Garoppolo said of Lance being drafted third overall by the Niners while appearing on the Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin show on ESPN Radio.

“You go through this NFL career and you start as a young guy coming in. Tom kind of showed me the ropes. The competition between us was awesome. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So, that’s kind of what me and Trey, we’ll mold our relationship into that. But it will happen naturally. It’s one of those things, you can’t force anything. Just let it come as it may.”

There are plenty of differences from Garoppolo and Trask. The former went to an FBS school. The latter threw to several first round-draft picks at Florida.

But flashing back to his own experience, Garoppolo was moved to reach out to Lance and offer his help.

“I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player,” Garoppolo said. “I’m going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It’s hard to come into this league; I know how it was coming from an FCS school to the NFL. It’s a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want to call it, it’s just different. So, whatever I can do to help him, I’ll be more than happy.”

The fact is Garoppolo never got to follow Brady in New England. In 2017, he was traded for a second-round pick to the Niners.

Garoppolo produced a 24-9 record when healthy enough to stay on the field. But ankle sprains and a torn ACL has derailed his plans.

Now he gets to be an apprentice under Brady.

“I don’t know yet, but I’m sure it will be pretty surreal,” Trask said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it. Most of all, I’m looking forward to the amount of knowledge that I can absorb from being in the same room with him. I just can’t wait to get to work.”

With the GOAT.

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