BOSTON (CBS) — Sunday afternoon is going to be an interesting one for Bill Belichick. It will be the first time that the Patriots head coach squares off against Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterback who got away.

Or, at least, the quarterback whom Belichick had to let get away. Belichick never wanted to trade Garoppolo, but as the story goes, was forced to trade the backup QB/Tom Brady’s potential successor in 2017. He essentially gave him away to the 49ers, sending Jimmy G. to a very good situation in San Francisco.

Garoppolo has played well for San Francisco, helping the team make the Super Bowl last season before they came up short to the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, fresh off an impressive win over the L.A. Rams on Sunday Night Football, Garoppolo is returning to Gillette Stadium for the first time as a visitor.

Belichick shared some glowing thoughts on Garoppolo after sending him to San Fran, and he had more nice things to say about the quarterback on Tuesday morning.

“I think we all know Jimmy is a quality player. He does the things a good quarterback needs to do,” Belichick told reporters. “He led the 49ers to the NFC Championship last year. We saw a little bit at the end of last year in preparation of this game, and the 2020 games that he’s played in. I don’t think there is any question about his skill level and what he’s been able to accomplish and what the team has accomplished.”

San Francisco is 3-3 to start the season, and it has been a mixed bag for Garoppolo so far. He missed two games after suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 and was ineffective in his return two weeks ago. He was actually benched by Kyle Shanahan after throwing a pair of first-half interceptions against the Miami Dolphins.

But Garoppolo bounced back in a big way last weekend, completing 23 of his 33 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns in a win over the Rams. He has seven touchdowns and two picks for the season.

“We’ll be ready for his best and I’m sure we’ll get it,” said Belichick. “He’s a guy that does a lot of things well.”

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-49ers clash on WBZ-TV! Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m., and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!


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