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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Trey Lance not worried about skeptics, praises Brock Purdy

Jan 31, 2023 at 3:27 PM

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Trey Lance has had his share of critics this season. Many in the media believe the San Francisco 49ers made a mistake giving up so much draft capital to trade up to select the young inexperienced quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in 2021. Several fans feel the same way.

Meanwhile, Brock Purdy, the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, "Mr. Irrelevant," looked about as NFL-ready as they come in his limited playing time this season, filling in for an injured Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.

What does Lance think about his nonbelievers? The 22-year-old quarterback had a chance to address the skepticism on Tuesday as players cleared their lockers in Santa Clara.

"I'm excited to go out and show what I can do, the same situation that it's been for me the last two years, and really, my whole life," Lance told reporters. "Nothing's really changed. Still the same mindset. I don't read you guys' articles, unfortunately for you guys. Sorry. And I know people do. That's just part of this job, part of the business. But if I'm worried about that stuff—I've said it a million times—I just worry about what these guys think in this locker room, what the coaches think, what people in this organization think. Anything outside of that is totally out of my control, so I don't know why I'd let that have any effect on me."

Purdy was phenomenal in his eight-game stretch leading to this past weekend. He failed to lose a game until the NFC Championship clash with the Philadelphia Eagles. Purdy suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow of his throwing arm during the first quarter. Unable to throw, the 49ers passing game became non-existent in the second half after Purdy returned to the field following Josh Johnson's concussion. The Eagles beat the 49ers 31-7.

"I feel real bad about what happened to Brock, and Josh, as well," Lance said. "Man, I was so proud of these guys for everything they did throughout the year. They deserve everything they got and more. It's real unfortunate that it had to end that way."

Are there things that Lance feels he can learn from Purdy after watching the rookie finish out the season for the 49ers?

"Yeah, absolutely," Lance responded. "Brock, he plays the game the right way. That's why he had so much success. I was just super excited for him. He worked his butt off, all OTAs, since the first day he got here, since the day he got drafted. So he deserved everything he got this year and more. I truly believe that.

"Just tried to help him as much as I could. Learned a lot from him, as well. Just from a human being standpoint, he's a great person, someone that I see a lot of myself in, so it's great for me to be able to have a quarterback room like we did throughout the year."

While Lance was impressed by Purdy's play, something else about his teammate impressed him more since the rookie took the field in December.

"Just how he handled himself," Lance shared. "You can talk about throws all day. He can make every throw in the world, and he showed that throughout the year. But just how he handled himself, the way he inserted himself in the offense, the way he was treating other people, really. He treated guys, first day in the building, on practice squad the same as Nick Bosa. So I think that says a lot about him as a person."

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