Jimmy Garoppolo's first interaction with Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels came at the 2014 NFL Combine.
On Friday, during his introductory press conference, the quarterback recollected meeting the then-Patriots offensive coordinator nine years ago. But it wasn't just the two of them in the interview. Garoppolo was caught off guard by a player who walked in. Someone he later served as a backup for.
"We actually had a funny first interaction," Garoppolo said with a big smile during his introductory press conference. "I was meeting with Josh, he was running me through the offense on the white board. And I don't know if it was planned or not, but I swear he planned it – Tom Brady walked in. And I thought it was to throw me off a little bit because I'd never met him before and I was a little starstruck.
"But he walked out and everything and Josh kept going on with the teaching. That was our first interaction."
After three seasons with the Patriots, Garoppolo spent six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In that time, he threw for 13,599 passing yards, 82 touchdowns and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance.
According to the Raiders' new quarterback, McDaniels helped mold him as a player – resulting in the later success he's had in the league.
"He's very smart. Taught me the game of football, basically, in the NFL," Garoppolo said of Coach McDaniels. "But he cares, too, about the game. He cares about the game. He cares about winning. You can really tell, just talking to him, that winning is important to him, and I wouldn't say that's true about everyone in the NFL. When you do get an opportunity like that, it's hard to pass up."
"You hate it initially, especially when you're a young player, you're like, 'Man this is hard'," joked Garoppolo. "It is hard. The NFL is hard. But you appreciate it later in your career because you're like, 'I'm glad I went through that because it's making everything else so much easier.' There's a give and take there, but Josh, he'll push you and you'll appreciate in the end."
Going into his 10th NFL season, Garoppolo is ready to hit the ground running with a promising supporting cast. Pro Bowlers Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby were some of the first few players to reach out to him, plus new wide receiver additions Jakobi Meyers and Phillip Dorsett are also familiar with McDaniels' playbook.
"I feel like there's probably not too many players in the league who don't know Jimmy G is, right?" Meyers said Thursday. "I heard a lot about him. I heard about personality honestly, and I feel like that's probably the easiest thing. Just a guy who's cool, calm, collected. I've seen him have good days, bad days, but I've always seen him with the same smile on his face. So, take away the X's and O's and the talent, I feel like that alone will be fun to play with."
Even with the pedigree and success Garoppolo brings with him to Las Vegas, he'll be the first to admit that nothing will be given to him. It all must be earned with time.
"I'm trying to bring an energy," he said. "Trying to get everyone on the same page, get everyone rolling in the same direction. ... I'm trying to earn it. Just because I'm the quarterback, I'm not the leader because of that.
"I want to be the leader because guys respect me and believe in me. I think that starts with hard work and so, I'll try to do that as much as I can."
View photos of new Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in action. In 74 games, Garoppolo has completed 1,167 passes for 14,289 yards and 87 touchdowns.