SANTA CLARA — Asked what it was like to wake up Monday after losing the Super Bowl, Jimmy Garoppolo warned that you didn’t want to be in his head “going through all that stuff.”
Three days later, the 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs still provided heartache and headache for Garoppolo and his teammates as they cleaned out their lockers Wednesday.
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Garoppolo said he especially will be fueled more than anyone to rebound and return next season with championship ambitions.
The transcript as reporters huddled around him in front of tight end George Kittle’s locker (because Kittle earlier held court in front of Garoppolo’s, and the lockers face each other across a walkway)
On his initial Super Bowl reflections:
“Didn’t make enough plays when we had opportunities. It was tough to watch. But it is what it is. Got to appreciate the good things from this season.”
On how to turn the loss into motivation:
“I don’t know, I keep telling myself, ‘You’ve got to remember that feeling when the confetti was coming down, just remember that moment and let it fuel you for the offseason. Just come back stronger, more ready for next year.’ “
On how he handles the waves of media criticism that will keep coming:
“It’s one of those things that you’ve got to own it, got to be a man and attack it right down the middle, right in the face. There were a lot of good memories from this year, this team, the players, coaches. It was a great group to be around. I enjoyed every minute of it. Terrible ending. Just have to take the good with the bad.”
On if plays run through his mind, like an overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders with 1 1/2 mintues to go:
“No doubt. That’s something you’ve got to move on from. It sucks. Obviously some throws I wish I had back, some throws I made differently. The one to ‘E,’ just missing him, putting a little too much on it. But you’ve got to be a man, you have to own up to those things. Some things I’d rather have back. But this whole year, it’s been incredible.”
On what Sanders meant to the receiving corps:
“You can’t even describe it, just what E did, coming in the way he did, never asking for the ball, never doing too much. He was exactly what we needed on this team, that veteran presence, for the younger receivers, for everyone, myself included. Everything he did, he did it with class and couldn’t ask for a better teammate. … He’s one of a kind. Love that guy.”
On the 2020 season’s expectations:
“It’ll be hard to get back here but looking around the room, looking at all the guys, we have the pieces for it, and the guys who have the right mindset for it. That’s the encouraging part. Most guys feel just about the same way the past couple days.”
On how better he can be after playing his first full season after an ACL repair:
“It only help us going forward. It was a full year. Everything we went through, all the big games at the end of the year, trying to get that No. 1 seed. One memory that keeps coming back to me is the Redskins game (a 9-0, rain-soaked win Oct. 20), how before that game, it was pouring, there might have been 100 people in the stands, and our team was just out there ready to roll. The camaraderie we had, it was a special group to be around.”
On what it means to have most of the players returning?
“It’s huge. The age of most of these guys, we’re a pretty young team, in general. Just a lot of encouraging things. Coaches, players, front office — how it’s all tied together, it makes for a pretty special group.”
On what Coach Kyle Shanahan said in the team address?
“Kyle was just honest and straight forward, like he’s always done it. Everyone is feeling about the same way: it sucks, ut it is what it is, and at some point you have to be a man, accept it for what it is, move on and start getting ready for next year.”
On the areas he wants to improve?
“Yeah, I haven’t really thought about that too much, but I’m sure over these next couple days … I haven’t even planned out my offseason on where I’m going to be or any of that stuff. This season, it’s crazy how long it is, and how much of a grind, but it comes to an end all of a sudden so quickly. Have to access all that stuff and attack the offseason.”
On how big an offseason he can focus on football instead of an ACL rehab?
“A tremendous amount. Last year I was here at this time, it was raining every day, trying to learn how to run and all that stuff. It’ll be a more productive offseason, I’d imagine, just getting into the book and fine-tuning the little things.”
On his fourth-quarter statistics (3-of-11) and how to answer the critics?
“If you just look at the stats like that, yeah, it is what it is. As an offense, as a team, we’ve been in that situation multiple times and answered the bell. It’s tough that one time you didn’t. But that’s what people remember, that’s the world we live in and you just have to own up to it and be a man about it.
“It will fuel us in this offseason, fuel me especially in this offseason, to come back better.”
On what was the first thing on his mind when he awoke Monday?
“Gotta catch this flight home. No. It sucked. I wouldn’t want to put anyone in my head that Monday morning going through all that stuff. Like I said before, special year, special group of guys, no one I’d rather be in a foxhole with than these guys. I just love all of them. Alright, thanks guys. Appreciate you guys this year.”