After Brock Purdy's miracle run from being the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to starting in a conference championship game was derailed on the San Francisco 49ers' opening drive with an injury to his elbow, and fourth-string journeyman Josh Johnson was knocked of the game with a concussion, all Jimmy Garoppolo, could do was shake his head on the sideline and think about what might have been. Garoppolo, the quarterback who helped lead the team to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV, could only watch the season-ending 31-7 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, with his 49ers falling one game short of the Super Bowl.
"I wish I had a helmet," Garoppolo said, via NBC Sports Bay Area before exiting the locker room at Lincoln Financial Field.
Garoppolo suffered a broken foot in Week 13. against the Miami Dolphins in December and was initially ruled out for the season. Days later, Shanahan said there was a "way outside chance" he could return for the playoffs. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that "there'd be a better chance" for him to be ready for the Super Bowl if the 49ers make the big game.
Each of the last three seasons Garoppolo has started at least 10 games for the 49ers -- 2019, 2021, and 2022 -- the team has reached the NFC Championship Game. The high point was a Super Bowl LIV appearance, in which the 49ers led 20-10 entering the fourth quarter before losing 31-20 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was acquired through a trade with the New England Patriots in exchange for a second round pick in the 2017 season. His acquisition sparked a 5-0 stretch to end the that year, which led to him signing an extension of five-years, $137.5 million in the 2018 offseason.
His tenure with the 49ers has been marred by injuries as a torn ACL knocked him out of the 2018 season after three games, and an ankle injury caused him to miss 10 games in 2020. In 11 games this season, Garoppolo has a 67.2 completion percentage with 2,437 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 103.0 quarterback rating. In total, the 49ers had a 38-17 record with Garoppolo as their starting quarterback. He threw 82 touchdowns to 42 interceptions in his San Francisco career.
The veteran quarterback reportedly walked up to 49ers owners Dr. John York and his wife Denise in the locker room after the NFC Championship Game loss at the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday and gave each a hug while expressing gratitude for their support of him over the years.
"Everything will work out," Garoppolo said as he left the 49ers locker room for perhaps the last time to enter free agency for the first time in his nine-year career.