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Gabbert optimistic about 'fresh start' with the 49ers

Blaine Gabbert
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Blaine Gabbert met Jim Harbaugh prior to the 2011 NFL Draft during a visit to the 49ers facility in Santa Clara. He admitted that were mutual interest with the team and quarterback at the time.

Fast forward almost three years later and Gabbert is now on the 49ers as the trade became official today as he passed his physical. When initially being told that he was traded to San Francisco, he couldn't have been happier.

"I was excited for a new opportunity out here," Gabbert said in a conference call. "[I'm] going to a great team organization. It's a fresh start [and] you don't have many of those in the league."

Gabbert was the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft as the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up for him. Starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick was taken 26 spots later, with both quarterbacks now on the same team.

Even though Gabbert was highly touted coming out of Missouri as a top quarterback, he isn't letting any reputation get in the way of the team. He expects to work his way up as he starts on the team.

"I think you throw your egos aside," Gabbert said. "Everyone starts at the bottom [and] you have to work your way up. [Now that] I was traded here, I'm going to have to compete and put my best foot forward."

Gabbert shares a similar story with Alex Smith on playing with different offensive systems in three different years. His first three seasons in the NFL had a new offensive coordinator each time. The quarterback said he wants to "emulate" himself to how Smith was able to adjust and adapt to the different playbooks on offense.

In his three year career thus far, Gabbert has been hurt by injuries to the shoulder, toe, hamstring and hand. The pressure becomes minimal with him being the backup quarterback behind Colin Kaepernick, as he was 5-22 as a starter.

The 49ers gave up a sixth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, as well as a conditional draft pick in 2015 depending on the playing time he receives this year. Gabbert will compete with McLeod Bethel-Thompson for the backup role as those are the only two reserve QBs under contract.

Gabbert hopes to use his knowledge of the game which he has learned the last three seasons for the team. He wants to improve on a disappointing tenure in Jacksonville.

"Overall, [I want to] elevate my level of play," Gabbert said. "That comes with experience and repetition in practice. I’m going to be the best teammate I can, learn the offense as soon as possible and study my tail off.”

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