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49ers’ Trey Lance Willing to Compete for Starting QB Role

49ers quarterback Trey Lance is ready to compete for the team’s starting quarterback role after third-string quarterback Brock Purdy emerged as an adversary in the latter half of the 2022 season. 

Lance appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and discussed his season-ending ankle injury, as well as what next season could hold for the 2021 draft’s No. 3 pick and ’22’s Mr. Irrelevant. 

Eisen asked Lance, the team’s starting quarterback to begin the season, whether 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan had pulled him aside and said he’d be the starting quarterback for ’23. 

“It wasn’t a situation and I wouldn’t want it to be that way,” Lance said. “Brock played way too well and Brock played at such a high level and handled himself the right way. I wouldn’t want it to be a situation where I’m just handed something. And I feel horrible obviously for Brock for his injury. For me, I mean, I truly believe everything happens for a reason whether it’s his, he’s going to be better for it, mine, I’m gonna be better for it. And I’m excited to just get on the field and compete. That’s all I want an opportunity to do.”

Lance’s debut season as the team’s starter ended after a broken right ankle in Week 2 required season-ending surgery. As he recovered, second-string veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo steered San Francisco, going 7–3 at the helm of the team he led to Super Bowl LIV. However, his season was cut short after a season-ending foot break against the Dolphins in Week 13. 

Enter Brock Purdy, the untested rookie who had only attempted nine passes on four completions—with an interception—when he entered in Garoppolo’s stead. What would ensue would be a storybook tale involving the last selection of the 2022 draft and San Francisco, who under his leadership went 6–0 to finish the regular season en route to defeating both the Seahawks and Cowboys in the postseason. Ultimately, the injury curse plaguing 49ers QBs would impact Purdy’s right elbow, resulting in a torn ulnar collateral during the NFC championship against the Eagles. 

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Though there have been reports Purdy already won the quarterback battle, it’s hard to imagine San Francisco’s former first-round selection won’t at least get a shot this offseason. But Lance, who has completed just 56 passes with five touchdown tosses and three interceptions over eight games in two seasons, knows it won’t just be handed to him. Eisen asked Lance if he believed the coming months would consist of him competing for the starting role.

“Absolutely,” Lance replied. 

“Everyone saw what Brock did, Brock doesn’t just come in and play that well and I just get handed something out of the blue, and I don’t expect that or want that.” Lance continued. “But I truly believe, yeah, I just want an opportunity to compete, that’s all I want going into this offseason.”