Jared Goff arrives in Los Angeles to begin work with Rams
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jared Goff is Northern California to the core. He grew up in Marin County rooting for the San Francisco Giants and idolizing Joe Montana before going on to a record-setting football career in Berkeley.
When he touched down Friday on the other end of the Golden State as the new quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams, the Bay Area product decided he might like it in the Southland after all.
''It feels like home,'' Goff said. ''I landed back in California, in sunny Southern California, and it feels like my home, and where I belong. ... I'm going to have to make a little bit of a transition here.''
The Rams were confident he can handle the move as they welcomed their new quarterback to town a day after selecting him with the first overall pick in the NFL draft.
Wearing a bright blue suit during a news conference at a downtown hotel, Goff displayed his No. 16 jersey - for Montana, of course - and shook hands with coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead, whose fates might be tied to Goff's success.
The Rams made a splash to kick off their homecoming season by trading six draft picks to Tennessee for a package including the No. 1 choice. They confidently used it on Goff, who doesn't seem phased by the spotlight that will follow him everywhere.
''I know being the No. 1 pick brings a lot of responsibility, but it's something I'm ready for and very excited for,'' Goff said. ''I'm ready to really just get back to football, get back to playing. I haven't played football, I feel like, for forever (during) this whole long interview process for four months or so. I really just want to be playing and just being a teammate and being with the guys again.''
Goff said he isn't worried about whether he'll be the Rams' starter for the season opener, although Fisher acknowledges that the goal is to get Goff ready to start their Monday night opener in Santa Clara against the 49ers on Sept. 12.
Goff is more interested in getting up to speed with the Rams' offense and his new teammates before he thinks about the starting spot. Although he must adjust to being under center after three years in Cal coach Sonny Dykes' Bear Raid offense, Goff believes NFL speed will be the biggest factor in his adjustment to the pro game after three years in the Pac-12, which isn't a slow conference.
''I'm just going to come in and work as hard as I can,'' Goff said. ''I want to prove myself, and ultimately it's up to the coaches to make that decision.''
The Rams are counting on Goff to resolve several years of underperforming play at the position since the early days of Sam Bradford, their injury-plagued No. 1 pick in 2010.
Nick Foles and Case Keenum were unimpressive last season while St. Louis finished with the NFL's least productive offense and passing game. The Rams missed the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season despite a strong defense and star rookie running back Todd Gurley.
Former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks Jim Everett and Vince Ferragamo turned out for Goff's introduction as the next passer in their lineage. Snead and Fisher spent the second straight day feeling triumphant about their acquisition.
''You identify guys like Jared who can help you, but the hardest thing in the equation is actually being able to go get him,'' Snead said. ''A lot of times we've said, `Oh, we'd love to get that guy,' but you just can't. Someone else wants him. It just happened in 2016 that Jared made himself eligible for the draft. ... We identified Jared as a guy that we wanted, and once we did that, we were going to go try our best to get him. And you know what? It worked out.''
Goff and Gurley already exchanged texts Wednesday night, exchanging excitement about the possibilities of their new partnership.
Goff also got a tweet from Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers slugger, welcoming the new quarterback to town and inviting him to a game. The invitation was a humorous response to a three-year-old tweet by Goff, the lifelong Giants fan and the son of former major league catcher Jerry Goff, who had hoped Puig would get ''a fastball in the ribs.''
Puig's tweet included the hashtag: ''PuigYourFriend.''
''I will take him up on that,'' Goff said with a laugh. ''It was a really cool move for him to do that and treat me like that. I do plan to take him up on that, hopefully this summer and go catch a game.''
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