QB Jimmy Garoppolo will get first 49ers start against Bears

SHARE QB Jimmy Garoppolo will get first 49ers start against Bears
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Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. | John Hefti/Associated Press

Jimmy Garoppolo is coming home to make his first start for his new team.

The 49ers announced Tuesday that the Rolling Meadows High School alum will start Sunday against the Bears in place of rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who strained his hip and bruised his knee in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Seahawks. The Arlington Heights native played the final 1:07 of the game. He completed two passes for 18 yards — including a 10-yard touchdown — and ran for four yards.

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The 49ers traded a second-round pick for the ex-Patriots backup last month but continued to start Beathard while Garoppolo learned the playbook. Garoppolo, an Eastern Illinois alum, can become a free agent at the end of the season. The 49ers will, at the least, extend the franchise tag to keep him for another year. If he plays well the rest of the season, they might sign him to a long-term deal.

“When you’re making a long-term decision on someone for your organization to pay him the amount of money that you do for quarterbacks, that’s a big deal,” coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday. “[Garoppolo] hasn’t played in a lot of football games. He has come in here in a situation where he hasn’t had a fair opportunity to prepare the right way.”

Shanahan said that Beathard had “nothing serious or long term” to worry about injury-wise but was sore.

In his 3½-year career as Tom Brady’s backup, Garoppolo went 2-0 as a starter. He was magnificent in a preseason start against the Bears last year, completing 16 of 21 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown.

The last time the Bears faced Garoppolo in the regular -season, he came off the bench in an -eventual 51-23 Patriots victory to complete all three of his passes for 22 yards. More memorably, he was sacked by Lamarr Houston, who thrust his pelvis in celebration and tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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