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Jimmy Garoppolo looking forward to 'new journey' with Rams

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – After back-to-back injury-shortened seasons that also saw him being supplanted as the starter with two different teams, heading to Los Angeles and signing with the Rams – even as a backup – is a welcome fresh start for Jimmy Garoppolo.

"I'm excited to start this new journey," Garoppolo said during a video conference with reporters Tuesday after signing his 1-year deal. "I don't know exactly what is in store for me. But yeah, maybe reset, reinvent, whatever you want to call it – I'm just excited to get back on the football field and start slinging around with some new guys. I love football. I love going out there with the guys. I love every bit of it. So I'm just excited to get back out there and start throwing again."

His role in that new journey is one Garoppolo is content with, given how well the situation overall worked out for him.

Garoppolo said the free agency process went the way he thought it was going to go. He also said he had a couple different options. The Rams "came in about midway through" the process, and he said he "fell in love with the place."

"They were straight to the point, very professional – which I appreciated – and there's no messing around," Garoppolo said. "Excited to be here. It's going to be fun."

What made the Rams appealing, according to Garoppolo, was a combination of "good players all around," and also talking to head coach Sean McVay on the phone, with McVay outlining what he envisioned for L.A.'s offense. There's also the familiarity with members of the coaching staff – he overlapped with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in San Francisco, tight ends coach/pass game coordinator Nick Caley in New England, and senior assistant Jerry Schuplinski in Las Vegas – and from his six seasons going against the Rams while with the 49ers.

"There's a bunch of different connections there, but really it's just going to make the process of relearning this offense a little easier I think," Garoppolo said. "I know the language. I could speak the language, have to refresh the memory a little bit, but having those guys to lean on, I think will really do me well."

When he went through the free agency process for the first time in his career last year, Garoppolo learned that "(you) just got to have a little patience." He did just that, watching as other quarterbacks fell into place elsewhere.

That patience was also required in part because of his situation including a suspension for the first two games of the 2024 season for violating the NFL's performance enhancing substances policy. Garoppolo said that suspension was because he "messed up" the therapeutic use exemption when he got to the Raiders.

It's a situation he said he's "never been in" before, but he plans to "attack OTAs, attack training camp and let those first two games pass by." He can participate in offseason and preseason activities up until the beginning of the regular season.

"Hopefully we'll get some dubs and start off 2-0 and keep things moving," Garoppolo said. "But it's just one of those situations. It is what it is. You got to deal with it and just keep moving on and stay positive."

Garoppolo has seen what the Rams have done with veteran backups previously from afar, noting the success Baker Mayfield had during his stint in Los Angeles. Ultimately, he sees an environment that will help him get back on track.

"Sean's a phenomenal offensive mind, and a lot of the guys around here are, and I think that plays a big part in reinventing, whatever you want to call it, a quarterback, having good people around you," Garoppolo said. "It's not all going to be done by you. You got to have the people around you to put you in a good position, call the right plays, all those little things. And yeah, I saw this opportunity and I got excited. It just seemed right."

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