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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Darnold eager to learn from 49ers, reunite with Christian McCaffrey

Mar 23, 2023 at 12:44 PM--

It feels like Sam Darnold has been in the NFL for a while now. It isn't easy to believe that the newest San Francisco 49ers quarterback is only 25 years old, despite already starting 55 NFL games.

Darnold, speaking with 49ers team reporter Lindsey Pallares after signing his one-year deal with San Francisco, shared his eagerness to learn and continue to develop under head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"I think there's a ton of ways [for me] to grow and develop," Darnold said, "just by getting tons and tons of reps throughout practice and being able to watch film, sit down with Kyle, sit down with [quarterback coach Brian] Griese and the other quarterbacks, Trey [Lance] and Brock [Purdy]; just to be able to sit down with them and just talk ball.

"Obviously, those guys have all been in the system for a long time. And to be able to kind of understand the thought process behind certain concepts or certain plays, it's going to be really fun."

Darnold spent the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers and reunites with one former teammate in San Francisco—Christian McCaffrey. Playing again with the running back, along with the other talented players on the roster, has Darnold excited about the possibilities.

"Yeah, Christian's all-time, man," Darnold said. "He's a great guy, first and foremost. But, obviously, we all know the player that he is and that he can be. So, yeah, excited to continue to play with my guy, Christian, but not just Christian. I mean, there's so many other guys on this team as well that have and can help this team win."

The quarterback joins his most talented roster since being drafted into the NFL. With Brock Purdy sidelined until September (he underwent surgery on March 10 to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow), the 49ers will likely spend most of the offseason seeing what they have in 22-year-old quarterback Trey Lance. Of course, Lance is coming off a season-ending ankle injury sustained in September.

With so much uncertainty, Darnold has an opportunity to prove he can still contribute to an NFL roster.

"It's a great roster, a lot of talent," the quarterback said of the 49ers, "but as we all know, there's a lot of work that we got to do during the offseason and throughout the season to continue to get better. But, yeah, it's awesome when you get an opportunity to play with a lot of great players."


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