When free agents have signed with the Rams over the last couple of years, they've usually cited head coach Sean McVay and the environment he's created as one of the main reasons they've chosen Los Angeles.
Quarterback Blake Bortles put pen to paper on Monday, and started off with that same line of reasoning when asked, "Why L.A.?" But then he specifically mentioned one of his new teammates.
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"I think just being around coach McVay," Bortles told therams.com, "being around this organization, watching kind of from the outside looking in kind of what they've been able to do the past couple years, having a relationship with Jared and talking with him — so really fired up to be around those guys and, hopefully, help out in any way I can."
Bortles and Goff initially struck up a relationship because they're represented by the same agent. Bortles entered the league a couple years before the Rams' starting signal-caller, but they've connected and stayed in touch over the past couple years.
"We work out together and stuff down in Orange County, play in the Tahoe golf tournament and do that stuff together. So he's been a guy where it was kind of like an immediate friendship," Bortles said. "And we stay in touch throughout the year and talk, and kind of give each other 'Good game' [texts] and all that stuff."
"From what I know about Blake as a friend, I'm sure he will be a great addition to the quarterback room," Goff said. "His experience and new perspective is welcomed and will make us stronger as a unit."
While their conversations certainly aren't limited to football, Bortles said that Goff's had nothing but effusive praise for his head coach — and that's part of why Bortles wanted to put Los Angeles at the top of his list for teams he wanted to visit when he hit free agency.
"It's kind of — you hear about everything being in the NFL, especially playing quarterback. You kind of have an understanding of what's going on in most places as you create relationships and talk to guys," Bortles said. "And every time I got a chance to talk to Jared about Sean, it was always super positive. I know he's had a huge impact on his career and his development. And I hope I can help do that as well for Jared."
So now a friendship will evolve into a working relationship, one where Bortles will be in an important supporting role. The former Jaguar said he learned a lot about being a No. 2 quarterback from Chad Henne, who held that spot from 2014-2017. In that way, Bortles said he knows what it looks like when it's done right, and that's how he plans on handling the 2019 season with Goff in L.A.
"I'm excited to work with him," Bortles said of Goff. "I'm excited to support him and be there for him and do anything I can to help him."