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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Trey Lance finally healthy after injury-riddled rookie campaign, isn’t concerned with outside criticism

May 24, 2022 at 3:41 PM--

It feels like everywhere you turn, there is someone reporting skepticism about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. On Tuesday, Lance and his teammates (most of them, at least) were back on the practice field for the second day of organized team activities. This time, reporters were allowed to watch.

Lance was among the players made available to the media after the on-field session. A reporter asked him about the reports of doubt from those on the outside looking in. The quarterback offered an honest response.

"In the most respectful way possible, it doesn't change how I feel about you guys as people, but it's not my job to care what you guys say," Lance told reporters. "Or anyone else on social media. For me, I care what the guys in the locker room think, what my coaching staff thinks. At the end of the day, that's my job.

"You guys, unfortunately, aren't the ones making decisions for me or really have any effect on me, again, in the most respectful way possible. But I know everyone's got strong opinions one way or the other. Like I said, I'm going to go out and try to prove people wrong, prove myself right. But I'm doing it for the guys in the locker room."

Lance acknowledges that his play could have been better during his rookie campaign but offered an explanation for why he didn't live up to his own expectations—injuries. Not using it as an excuse necessarily, Lance shared that the finger injury he dealt with early on lasted much of the season and didn't start feeling normal again until recently.

"I can tell you, he got healthy while he was gone," head coach Kyle Shanahan said of his young quarterback. "He's come back, and he's gotten a full week's worth of work."

Lance noted that he focused more on getting healthy than adjusting any of his mechanics this offseason. It's only May, and there is still time for that.

"I kind of dealt with my finger throughout the season, so for me, it was kind of getting that back, and getting healthy, and feeling back to myself," Lance said. "Like, towards the end of the season, I wasn't the best version of myself overall. It was a long season, a long pre-draft process, of me not being in school. Everyone says it's going to be, but you don't really realize it until it happens.

"And I think the finger, for me, was the biggest thing just as far as throwing the ball. I kind of had to learn to throw the ball differently without kind of using my pointer finger, I guess because of just where it was at throughout the year. But now, I feel like I'm in a great spot, health-wise, and throwing the ball wall, and feeling really good."

Lance added that his finger didn't straighten completely as the season progressed. He was able to manage the situation, but it was a challenge.

"As the season goes on, it kind of starts straightening and straightening more and more, and the swelling goes down. But it's just a thing that takes time," Lance said while noting that he tried to avoid developing bad throwing habits due to the limitation.

Much to Lance's surprise, the intrigue surrounding his finger continued as reporters pressed on about the injury. The gracious quarterback laughed and continued responding, revealing that he didn't have to undergo an offseason procedure, and the finger is 100 percent now.

"Towards the end of the season, it got close [to feeling normal]," Lance said. "But [there's] a lot going on at that time. But I'd say when I came back, I took a few weeks—about a month—off of throwing the football, everything. When I came back, I felt back to myself."

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