Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to be the one to turn the San Francisco 49ers around.
Handsomely paid after a 5-0 run to close 2017, when he landed in San Fran via trade from the New England Patriots, the young quarterback threatened to lead the Niners to a comeback against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, until an awkward turn tore his ACL and ended his 2018 season.
The aspiring face of the 49ers will have to wait something like another calendar year to make his 11th career NFL start, and thus prove himself as Kyle Shanahan’s richly rewarded quarterback. But in the meantime, he’s got unconditional support from the man set to replace him under center.
C.J. Beathard, the second-year backup set to start in place of Garoppolo the rest of the season, revealed to the media after Sunday’s game what he said to his injured teammate.
“I told him I would be praying for him and that I love him,” Beathard said. “He told me to lead these guys.”
A third-round draft pick of San Francisco in 2017, Beathard could have his hands full as a full-time starter after a rookie season that saw him throw four touchdowns and six interceptions before being benched for Garoppolo. But while he’s yet to settle in as an NFL starter, his team-first attitude has never been lacking in the Niners’ locker room. Between trips to and from the bench, where he opened 2017 backing up Brian Hoyer, Beathard has cast his support behind teammates with inspiration from the selflessness of Christian faith.
A two-year starter at Iowa before entering the NFL, Beathard has been fueled by faith since his days playing college ball. He exchanged Bible verses with a 14-year-old fan before every Hawkeyes game. He’s used a “Jesus Daily” devotional on Sundays to ready himself for games. And he pours into the Word during team hotel trips.
Beathard is set to make his 2018 debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
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