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Even though he’s not there, Brady can cast a Super shadow

Jimmy Garoppolo

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

You may have noticed Tom Brady is not playing in the Super Bowl this season. Hard to believe, we know. The game has been like a time share for the Patriots over the last two decades. They don’t go every year, but they’re around long enough to be a first-name basis with the neighbors.

That doesn’t mean Brady won’t be somehow involved in the comings and goings during the media-mad week leading to Sunday’s game. His name gets mentioned every so often because of something he said or did or was told.

And here we are, not even midweek, and we’re hearing Brady’s been on the mind of some prominent people in and around Miami Beach.

Monday was the first full-blown media session of the week. Players and coaches are obligated to attend daily sessions from Monday thru Thursday. They usually last for about an hour and all types of relevant and inane questions are asked. Usually, the players take it all in with a big smile. And why not, it’s the freaking Super Bowl!

One of the biggest crowds gathered around 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who once was Brady’s backup in New England. Jimmy G. will be a very busy man this week, as all quarterbacks are.

Before getting to Miami, Garoppolo said he thought it would be a great idea to reach out to Brady before getting into town. He rightly figured the greatest quarterback in NFL history might have a few prescient things to say about keeping things real.

“Yeah, he shot me a text, just good luck and everything like that,” Garoppolo told “And you know just ‘go handle business,’ you know, wasn’t anything too complicated, just ‘go win.'”

Frankly, it’s been two years since the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers and most of us are still wondering why. Seems like he would have been a great heir apparent – like Aaron Rodgers was in Green Bay to Brett Favre.

On San Francisco’s run to the Super Bowl, Garoppolo often mentioned how being alongside Brady would benefit him now that he’s at the epicenter of activity.

“He would have fun at all these events and everything like that, but when the game would come, he would lock in,” Garoppolo said. “Get the game plan down and all that stuff. Anything you can learn from that guy. He is the best to ever do it. I was very privileged to have learned from him.”

Garoppolo also said Patriots coach Bill Belichick has reached out to let him know how proud he is about what the quarterback has accomplished.

“Coach, we had a great relationship,” Garoppolo said. “He is a great guy, very honest, very straightforward. I always appreciate him for that.”

Joe Montana

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Now here’s where it gets kind of interesting. Garoppolo said he had no idea where Brady might play next season, now that he’s a free agent.

“I don’t know,” Garoppolo said. “I haven’t put much thought into it — we’ve been wrapped up with all of this stuff. It will be pretty interesting when all that happens.”

But there’s one guy who has a pretty strong opinion about that. And Joe Montana told the NFL Network he thinks Brady should do everything he can to stay with New England.

“I just can’t see how they would let him leave there, myself,” Montana said during an interview that will air on NFL Network’s “GameDay Morning” on Sunday.

Montana knows about this kind of stuff. After his Hall of Fame days with the 49ers were over, he would up with the Chiefs for two seasons (1993-94). That’s where he ended his career.

“It’s not easy to go to another team and get accepted, no matter how much success you’ve had and how many years you’ve played,” Montana said. “They still want to see you come in and be the same player and be that loyal to them as you were to the other team you just left. So, it’s not easy (for) guys looking at that change, especially at the quarterback position.

“Don’t (leave) – if you don’t have to. It’s a process to go through, and it takes time to get used to the team. I was fortunate because (former 49ers quarterbacks coach) Paul Hackett was there running the offense, and so I was pretty familiar with probably three-quarters of the offense going in. And, if they let [Brady] have his own offense (with a new team), yeah, that makes it a little bit easier. But still, the transition of moving …

Montana wasn’t chopped liver in Kansas City. He led the Chiefs to the 1993 AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Bills. They got back to the playoffs in 1994 and lost a first-round game to the Dolphins.

“Kansas City, you know, took me on when, everyone thought, may have thought, I was done playing at the time,” Montana said. “Great organization, crazy-good fans, we had a really good team also at the same time. … I just never thought I’d leave San Francisco.”