FOXBOROUGH — For someone who didn’t go anywhere, Jimmy Garoppolo has had an eventful offseason.
The Patriots’ fourth-year quarterback couldn’t go a day without his name being mentioned in a trade rumor on ESPN or Twitter. The Bears, 49ers, and Browns all reportedly had their sights on Garoppolo, and when someone posted a picture on his Instagram account flashing a peace sign in the middle of the night, it looked as if the Patriots had fulfilled Jimmy G’s destiny by sending him packing to a new team with a starting job.
But not even Garoppolo could avoid the “fake news” epidemic this spring.
“I was as surprised as you were,” Garoppolo said Tuesday of that Instagram post, which he said was a hack. “Woke up to about 50 text messages. Was confused, because I don’t really do much on social media, and yeah, got it all taken care of. Whoever did it is pretty slick to figure out my password.”
Garoppolo is still a Patriot, despite those persistent trade rumors. The Bears and 49ers moved on to Option B in free agency after the Patriots made it clear that they weren’t trading Garoppolo. The Browns tried several times to land him, including a last-ditch effort on draft night, but were rebuffed every time.
So Garoppolo returns to New England, preparing to play but destined to sit behind Tom Brady for another year. Garoppolo played well in his brief stint last year, and he probably could start for 8-10 NFL teams right now. But the Patriots control his rights for at least one more season, and don’t seem inclined to make a decision on Garoppolo’s future until they absolutely have to next March, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Garoppolo spoke with reporters for the first time this spring after Tuesday’s minicamp practice, and he discussed his future — whether he expected to be with the Patriots, whether he still wants to be with the Patriots, how badly he wants to get on the field, and whether he intends to stay in New England.
But since Garoppolo is a graduate of the Bill Belichick School of Media Training, we have to use our handy Patriots-to-English dictionary to decipher what he really means:
Q. How much do you think about your NFL future?
A. “Not really. I mean, from time to time. It’s your career, so you’re obviously thinking about it a bit, but I mean, with OTAs and everything going on, there’s plenty to think about with that.”
Translation: “It’s all I thought about in February. And March. And April, May, and June. And it’s all I’ll think about until my situation gets settled.”
Q. How much did you pay attention to trade reports this offseason?
A. “Not much, I had a lot going on.”
Translation: “I was glued to my phone.”
Q. What’s your patience level for sitting behind Brady as his backup?
A. “Obviously I want to play. That’s the competitor in me. I think everyone out here wants to play. We come out here and compete every day for that opportunity, and if you go out and earn it, it’s yours.”
Translation: “Please, please, please, pleeeease let me find a starting job somewhere for 2018. It can be in New England, or it can be on the moon. I just want to play already.”
Q. Is it hard to be patient?
A. “It’s an ‘it is what it is’ type of thing. Obviously I want to play, but it’s a situation where you’ve got to go out and earn it.”
Translation: “If I don’t play soon, I’m going to explode.”
Q. Would you entertain the possibility of signing an extension with the Patriots?
A. “You know, I entertain any possibility. I don’t know, like I said, I’m not really thinking about too much right now. There’s just so much going on with OTAs and training camp is right around the corner. That’s where my focus is. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.”
Translation: “I really want to play, but I’d be stupid to say no to $24 million.”
Q. Are you surprised you’re still here?
A. “Yeah, you know, I’m glad to be here.”
Translation: “Surprised? No. Disappointed? A little bit.”
Q. Playing in a game and a half last year, did that make you hungrier to get on the field?
A. “Always. That’s the competitor in me, though. You’re used to playing, used to being the guy, and you’ve got to go earn it.”
Translation: “Guys, how clear do I have to be? I want to play quarterback. Three years on the bench is enough. But I have to bite my lip and accept it for another year.”
Q. What’s the relationship like between you, Brady, and Jacoby Brissett?
A. “It’s very competitive, I’ll say that. Whatever it is, arguments break out and it gets competitive. But that’s how quarterbacks are, I guess, and it’s great being around them.”
Translation: “Brady never lets up. Ever.”
Q. You and Brady share the same agent. Ever have any career discussions with Tom or ask him how long he wants to play?
A. “I don’t think I’ve ever asked him that. But he’s very helpful, on the field, off the field, with things in life. He’s kind of been like a big brother to me and it’s been very helpful.”
Translation: “If I value my life, I will never ask Tom Brady that question.”