Jimmy Garoppolo ‘messed up’ exemption; Rams ‘seemed right’

LOS ANGELES — Rams backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said Tuesday that his two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substances policy was because he “messed up” the therapeutic use exemption when he first got to Las Vegas.

The violation was related to the quarterback using a prescribed medication without having a valid therapeutic use exemption from the league, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter last month.

Garoppolo said he’s never “been in this situation before,” but plans to “attack OTAs, attack training camp and let those first two games pass by.” He can participate in all offseason activities and training camp with the Rams, but cannot be at the facility for two weeks once the regular season starts.

“Hopefully we’ll get some dubs and start off 2-0 and keep things moving,” Garoppolo said. “But it’s just one of those situations. It is what it is. You got to deal with it and just keep moving on and stay positive.”

Garoppolo signed with the Rams as the backup to Matthew Stafford after he was released by the Las Vegas Raiders at the start of the new league year. The quarterback, who signed a three-year, $72.75 million contract with the Raiders last offseason, completed 65.1% of his passes in 2023 for 1,205 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven games.

Garoppolo said he had “a couple of different options” in free agency, but talking to Rams coach Sean McVay “really sealed the deal” on his decision to sign with Los Angeles. Garoppolo called McVay “a very perceptive guy” with a vision for his role with the Rams.

“Obviously good players all around,” Garoppolo said. “That’s a big part of it. Talking to Sean on the phone, him just running me through offense and things that he had in mind, it really became appetizing. And I know a lot of the coaches here, so a lot of familiarity in that aspect. And then having played against the Rams a lot in my career, I’ve seen a lot of good things from L.A.”

Garoppolo spent six seasons with the division-rival San Francisco 49ers and has an 8-0 record against the Rams in his career.

“Having gone against them for so many years, I knew how good this defense was, how … the offense could put up points,” Garoppolo said. “It was a good situation, man. That was a big part of my decision. I just wanted to find a good situation, good people around. And I think I found it here.”

Having an experienced, high draft pick as a backup quarterback is not new for the Rams, as they signed Baker Mayfield off waivers in December 2022 and signed Carson Wentz midway through the 2023 season. Garoppolo said he saw from afar what Mayfield did under McVay and how that led to a career resurgence with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“What Baker did, that was tremendous, incredible,” Garoppolo said. “And so Sean is a phenomenal offensive mind. And a lot of the guys around here are, I think that played a big part in reinventing — whatever you want to call it — a quarterback.

“Having good people around you, it’s not all going to be done by you. You got to have the people around you to put you in a good position, call the right plays, all those little things. And yeah, I saw this opportunity and I got excited. It just seemed right.”

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