NFL quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's father taught him how to handle bad days: 'It all starts with your attitude'
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's career has been filled with exhilarating highs and excruciating lows.
The 30-year-old has two Super Bowl rings from his time with the New England Patriots. He signed a $137.5 million five-year deal with the 49ers in 2018, and took San Francisco to Super Bowl LIV in 2019, ultimately losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
He's also battled a slew of injuries and criticism. During his first year with the 49ers, he tore his left ACL and missed the rest of the season. In 2020, he missed a significant chunk of time after suffering a serious ankle sprain. And in March, Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery. He may not be able to throw a football again until this summer, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
His situation in San Francisco has reportedly soured enough that the 49ers have tried to trade him during this offseason. The team has yet to make a deal.
Handling those bad days, Garoppolo says, "it all starts with your attitude."
"I've grown up pretty even-keeled and I think that plays a big part in it," Garoppolo tells CNBC Make It, adding: "You're gonna have some days where you're on top of the world, and some days where you feel terrible after the game or practice, [but] that's just life."
Garoppolo says he learned that lesson from his dad Tony, a retired electrician. The duo recently teamed up to partner with SkillsUSA's National Signing Day, an April 21 event that encouraged high school seniors to pursue careers in the skilled trades.
"He was always very consistent: same mood, same guy. And it kind of rubbed off on me," Garoppolo says.
You can't always force yourself into being even-keeled, so when something gets too heavy to handle internally, Garoppolo says, he's not afraid to express his feelings externally.
"When you're stressed about something, you gotta just talk it out. I think it's the best way to relieve it," he says. "Just put it out there. Get someone's opinion on it."
Garoppolo also says a 49ers team doctor taught him a useful breathing technique, which he performs to calm his nervous system down before he goes to bed. He describes the technique as trying to find his breath's rhythm, and says it helps remind him to allow himself to be in the zone without overthinking.
"I wouldn't really call it meditation, more kind of finding your breath," he says.
The technique is important because it helps enable a good night's sleep — which Garoppolo says he heavily relies on to help him both mentally and physically.
"I'm definitely getting at least eight hours of sleep [per night]," he says. "I wouldn't be the same without it."
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