It’s officially Trey Lance time in San Francisco. Speaking with the media Tuesday, 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan formally announced Lance as the team’s starting quarterback for the upcoming season.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft spent most of his rookie season backing up Jimmy Garoppolo. He made two starts, completed 41 of his 71 pass attempts and threw five touchdown passes as the 49ers reached the NFC championship game for the second time in three years.
Lance was given a season to adjust to being an NFL quarterback, but the organization always planned to give him the keys to the offense. It was just a question of when.
“This is Trey’s team … We made that decision a year ago, and we’re going with that,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “And we’re not going to mess around with that anymore, and I don’t think we really have messed around with that much.”
Lance spent just one season as a starter at North Dakota State before San Francisco traded up to take him. In that 2019 season, he led the Bison to a perfect 16-0 record and the FCS national championship while completing 66.9% of his passes and throwing for 28 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Shanahan said during the press conference one of the things he liked about Lance coming out of college was his ability to process information.
“I see him as a guy who played in college and was a very good quarterback and has the ability to keep getting better and will always have the bonus to do something athletically that a lot of the good quarterbacks don’t have,” Shanahan said.
Lance made his debut in a Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions, throwing a five-yard touchdown pass and running the ball three times. He had two touchdown passes and picked up his first win as a starter in Week 17 against the Houston Texans.
Amid all the hype and intrigue surrounding Lance both before and after the draft, he hasn’t lost sight of his identity as a child of God. The phrase is the first thing listed in his bios on Twitter and Instagram, and he regularly references his faith on social media.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
— Trey Lance (@treylance09) July 20, 2021
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
— Trey Lance (@treylance09) July 22, 2021
“Child of God” is also tattooed on his back.
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙎𝙁𝙉𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙧𝙨 (@TheSFNiners) April 15, 2022
All of it reminds Lance to make sure football doesn’t define him, as he uses the sport to bring glory to God.
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“Football is not who I am, it’s what I do,” he said in a 2020 interview with Yahoo Sports. “I’m obviously going to put everything possible into it because that’s what I love to do. But at the end of the day, I think God put that in my plan to use it as my platform.”
Lance inherits a team that went 10-7 last season and won road playoff games against the NFC East-champion Dallas Cowboys and top-seeded Green Bay Packers before falling to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers host the Packers in their first preseason game Aug. 12 and visit the Chicago Bears in their season opener Sept. 11.
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