The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback spoke with Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz about his adjustment to a new team, the return of the squad’s star running back and what it’s like to reunite with his former teammate from New England. Jimmy joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of USAA’s ‘Salute to Service’. Watch the full video of Jimmy's visit to Nellis Air Force Base on USAA's Facebook page.
JASON FITZ: This is weird synergy here. I'm hanging out with the quarterback of my favorite football team. Let's go. Jimmy Garoppolo joining us, quarterback of the Raiders. I'm Jason Fitz hanging out. Jimmy G, I know you're here with us with USAA. We'll get to that in a minute. But we got to start with my fandom. Come on, man, it's my interview.
Look, I take these wins and losses really personally during the fall, so just give it to me real, man. Am I going to have a good fall this year?
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Oh, it's going to be a good fall, man. Yeah, I mean, we're starting off on the right foot here with this interview. But yeah, it's been a good training camp, guys are in a good mindset. Good preseason, but now it starts to get fun now. So we're excited about it. It's going to be a fun year.
JASON FITZ: Talk to me a little bit about that training camp mindset for you, because we all know that you come from San Francisco at this point. But we expect quarterbacks to be leaders. How do you walk into a room of guys that have already been together and sort of assert your own personality in that room?
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: I've always been a big believer you got to be natural with it. You can't really fake it. You can't be something that you're not and come in here with all this fake energy and things like that. You got to just let it flow, let you be yourself, and I think guys guys respect that and kind of gravitate towards that, in a way. So it's been a fun experience. Great group of guys. Obviously, this locker room, tight knit group. You could tell they've been through some stuff together. It's everything I was hoping it was going to be when I signed here, so it's been a fun ride.
JASON FITZ: You mentioned tight knit group. Josh Jacobs just added to that tight knit group. What's that mean for you guys coming into this season?
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: It means a lot, means a lot. You could tell just the building atmosphere was a little different yesterday, having him back, seeing him around. I got to meet him for the first time. Great energy. You could just see he's ready for football, man. Not going through training camp, I'm sure his body feels as fresh as can be. So it's going to be a fun year with him. I'm excited to get to work and really just let our relationship start to grow now.
JASON FITZ: I think fresh starts are also interesting to me, Jimmy, just in general, for every player, right? So for you, you come from San Francisco, you go to Vegas, you can sort of decide who you want to be. How does your experience already in the league help you decide how to handle yourself in this moment?
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: It helps you grow. I think every player has a different story. How they get to where they are and what they do while they're there, but it's never going to be easy. That's one thing I've learned in the NFL, it's never going to be easy. There's always going to be some bumps in the road. And you really just got to keep rolling with the punches, man. I mean, it's how you bounce back from those things, how you accept when you do good. You don't want to get too cocky, you don't want to get too high. You want to just always be calm right, down the middle. And that's what I've tried to do throughout my career and it's done well for me.
JASON FITZ: So it's got to be a little weird. Let's be real here. I mean, we all saw the Brady video going down the tunnel, right? So you go from playing with Brady, now he's part of the ownership group. Is it weird looking over and being like, hi, Tom.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Not weird. It was cool seeing him in the locker room. Same old dude. Dude loves ball, you could tell the competitor in him is coming out a little bit, even for just a preseason game. I mean, he's telling us to go ruin their day. [CHUCKLES] It was nice having him around, man. He's good vibes, he's good people. It's only going to do good for our organization having a winner like that around.
JASON FITZ: I mean, you mentioned doing something good. You did something really badass with USAA. Tell everybody about-- you got an experience of a lifetime. Tell everybody about it.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Yeah, yeah, got to go up to Nellis Air Force base up here in Vegas. USAA and Team Whistle, they partnered up with the Salute to Service for the NFL, and really just gave me the full experience of what these Thunderbird pilots go through on a daily basis. I mean, I only got to fly for about an hour, I think it was, but it kicked my ass, man, if I'm just being honest. It was a great experience though. I hit the nine Gs, almost blacked out in the pilot seat. I got to fly the plane for a little bit, so it was everything I was hoping for.
JASON FITZ: Yeah, some of the video footage of it is rather amazing. Jimmy, love hanging out. Look, the last time I got to hang out with a player from my beloved Raiders, we got tattoos, Max and I got tattoos. So you and me, we scheduling a tattoo, buddy? We're just going to go out there, get something printed on our bodies? Are we doing this thing?
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Maybe, man. I mean, if it's good mojo. I've never gotten a tattoo, so that'd be my first one. We'll have to we'll have to think of something good if we're going to do that.
JASON FITZ: Man, if you get a tattoo and then all of a sudden the Raiders play well, I'm superstitious enough that means for the rest of my life, every year, I'd have to get one. I'm not sure we can go down that journey. Jimmy, appreciate it, man. Best of luck this season. Thanks for hanging out with us. We really appreciate you.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Definitely. thanks for having me, Jason.