- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some highlights from rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's interview with media members on Tuesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium:
Setting the scene: Garoppolo was moved to the far side of the playing field by the team’s media relations staff, which knew that the second-round pick (No. 62 overall) would draw the biggest crowd of all the rookies available to reporters. Garoppolo was surrounded by about 40 reporters and the thought came to mind, “Wonder if he ever experienced coverage like this at Eastern Illinois?” Wearing shorts, a Patriots gray T-shirt and a Patriots cap that still had the price sticker underneath the brim, he was in command throughout. “To have this opportunity to come here, I couldn’t imagine a better one,” he said. “I’m excited to get after it with the guys.”
Quick meeting with Brady and Mallett: Garoppolo said he had just a “quick introduction” with Tom Brady at this point. Ditto with No. 2 quarterback Ryan Mallett. Garoppolo explained that the rookies and veterans are separated at this point. “I think next week is when we’ll interact with them more,” he said, later adding that he plans to lean on them for as much advice and guidance as possible. The rookies had their first practice Monday, and Garoppolo gave a slight chuckle while recalling how there were some struggles with the warm-up because of initial nerves.
Issued jersey No. 10: Garoppolo wore No. 10 at Eastern Illinois, and that is also what he has been issued by the team. “That’s what they gave me. I’m not complaining about it,” he said. Garoppolo also wore a pink band over his left wrist that had the word “strength” on it, and he explained it was in memory of his grandmother Lulu who passed away from breast cancer. It serves as a lucky charm of sorts for him.
The last time he was a backup: Asked the last time he was a backup, Garoppolo was stumped. “Oh man,” he replied. “I don’t know … I don’t think I ever have.”
Already delving into the playbook: Asked how much time he has spent on the playbook the past two days, Garoppolo said he couldn’t even describe it. “I’m getting a little sleep-deprived,” he said, “but that’s a good thing in this business.” He said there are not many similarities to the Eastern Illinois offense, adding, “It’s like learning Spanish compared to English. It’s a different language, really.” He thinks he will be able to pick it up quickly, adding that he didn’t play under center much in college.
What defines a quarterback: When the topic of quarterbacks digesting as much film as possible came up, Garoppolo said it’s part of what defines his approach. “Film and playbook, that’s what makes a quarterback great,” he said. “You have to have the physical tools obviously, but when you get into the film room, get with the coaches and talk about the playbook, that’s what really separates you.”
Biggest surprise of past few days: Garoppolo described the range of emotions of the past few days as a whirlwind, and when asked the greatest surprise, he said it was leaving his mother on Mother’s Day. “She was a little upset about it,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s business now, it’s my job and I’m excited to be out here.”
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