SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Trey Lance dismisses offseason trade speculation: ‘This is absolutely where I want to be’

May 23, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers hands the ball off to Jeff Wilson Jr. #22 against the Seat...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers entered another offseason with the quarterback position in flux. And just like last season, Trey Lance is at the center of attention. Only this time, he’s fully healthy.

Speaking to the media Tuesday, Lance was relaxed at the podium, eager to put the past year and a half behind him. It’s been a battle since his rookie season when he suffered a fractured index finger on his throwing hand in the third preseason game. Having issues gripping the football, Lance went down a spiral of bad mechanics, having to adapt on the fly. Rookie years are often the hardest, but his was a struggle out of his control.

“Yeah, my rookie year was a lot. It was definitely the hardest on it because I couldn’t straighten it. It was my pointer finger and I couldn’t straighten it after that third preseason game when it happened, but coming through my rookie year and finishing that, my goal that offseason was to get as healthy as possible. First and foremost, just to be able to get my finger as straight as I can and I felt like I got close to that point, but spent a lot more time rehabbing that and trying to figure that out and relearn my grip and throwing everything like that than I did versus this offseason, being able to focus on the things that I need to focus on.”

His sophomore season didn’t get much better when he suffered a season-ending ankle fracture in Week 2.

Unexpectedly though, that injury gave him a path to rebuilding his mechanics. Working alongside fellow QB Patrick Mahomes and throwing coach Jeff Christensen, Lance was able to grow more this offseason as a passer than he was able to the two years prior.

One aspect he improved was arm fatigue. Sometimes struggling with soreness after a throwing session, Lance worked with Christensen to get a more compact throwing motion, helping beat the fatigue that had plagued him in the past. Acknowledging he had made some mistakes in the past, the North Dakota State alum wants that narrative to be put in the rear-view mirror forever.

“Yeah, hopefully we can finally kill that this year,” Lance said with a chuckle. “I thought going back to my rookie year that it was on me. I didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of my body coming out of school early, started throwing, through that whole year, going into that one game, my last game in college and then didn’t really stop, went all the way through the fall, through the winter, through the spring, got drafted, kept throwing through OTAs, 40 days away, wanted to be as ready as I could, kept throwing the whole 40 days away and then going through the whole season, kept throwing again, so that’s just a lot of time. I don’t know any quarterbacks that would spend that much time throwing, but I wanted to work and I thought that was the best way to do it, but obviously I learned a lot from that. Going through my rookie year dealing with it last year, I thought it was in a great spot as well going into it, but yeah, no issues this year.” 

Now entering a season where he isn’t the heir to the throne, Lance isn’t shy about what he wants. And what he wants is the starting job back.

While he’s fond of Brock Purdy and his success last season, Trey Lance just wants a chance to compete again in 2023.

“My opportunity is just to come in and compete and that’s all I wanted. I don’t want to take anything away from Brock and no one should be able to take anything away from Brock. He did what he did last year and he deserves all the credit in the world for it. I just want an opportunity to compete.”

In preparation for this hefty task, the quarterback has changed his approach to each day, adopting an in-the-moment mindset, and looking to be present in everything that he’s doing. Whether that’s in OTAs, or dismissing the countless trade rumors circling his name in the offseason.

Trey Lance made it very clear Tuesday: He wants to remain a 49er for the foreseeable future.

“No doubt for me, this is absolutely where I want to be,” the QB said sternly.

And the 49ers seem to feel the same way at the moment, extremely encouraged by his improvement in the pocket. Despite his progression in the pocket, the coaching staff still see the same mature 21-year-old kid they drafted in 2021, hoping he can finally put it all together on the field.

“Trey’s a very special person that I don’t think has to try to act anyway,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday. “I think guys have the respect of Trey whether he played any other position, whether he was the one, two or the three. Yeah, obviously when you’re the number one quarterback and you’ve done that and had experience that carries more weight, but also when you’re the number one quarterback and you haven’t played that stuff still isn’t real until you go out there and do it. That’s all just outside perception, so Trey’s been the same since he’s been here. The guys respect the hell out of him and they’ll continue to do that.”

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