Shanahan shares Lance’s greatest regrets, and believes he let the QB down originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The Tre Lance era at Santa Clara ended before it began, and on Friday the man who only two years ago held the top spot at the center midfield approached the podium to address reporters for the first time.
Kyle Shanahan had just finished coaching the 49ers for their final preseason game and approached the media room for his usual post-game press conference — but no one had questions about the game.
Instead, everyone’s mind was set on the fact that San Francisco traded their former #3 overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2024 fourth-round pick. And while tensions were high and fair, honest, and very transparent questions asked Shanahan explained the decision While also thinking about what went wrong.
“I will always feel like I let Trey down. I mean, I wanted him to come here,” Shanahan began. “I believe in Trey. I believed in him before we took him, and I’m responsible for that. I didn’t want to throw him into action right away, but I thought he needed to play. Therefore, we have tried to find out all the ways to do this. I mean, if I can look back in hindsight, he broke that toe on the helmet in that fourth preseason game (2021) vs. the Raiders (Las Vegas). I wish I hadn’t put him on a play that had him break his finger. Because I think that really hurt him in his first year.
Not only did his inability to mix hurt him a lot, it hurt him at training time because he had to adjust his throw and things like that, which I think got him back for year two. When we went ‘year two, we gave him every chance to do that. We would have committed an offense which, to me, gave him the best chance of success at the time. Which we did. And when you do, you hope the guy can stay healthy so he can stay there long enough. But that didn’t last long. It was the first game, and after that, I mean I always felt for him, and we keep working with him. But sometimes things don’t go right.”
Lance appeared in six matches and started two during his rookie campaign in 2021, but he might have seen more action if he hadn’t. Dealing with a broken finger Throwing in his hand. And because the injury continued throughout the entire 2021 season, Lance wasn’t able to truly begin his development journey as a quarterback in the NFL.
But he’s cured and ready to go for 2022, when he’s named the unquestionable starter and hopeful future of the franchise. That lasted less than two weeks into the regular season when Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. Little did he — or anyone — know that this would be his last regular season game for the Red and Gold.
Shanahan and the 49ers took a big risk in 2021, giving up three first round picks and a third round pick to advance in the draft to pick Lance. More than two years later, they admit it didn’t work.
The trade came two days after Shanahan told Lance that Sam Darnold had won the backup QB position, making Lance the No. 3 pick. From No. 3 pick to No. 3 pick – Lance’s career on the 49ers was a combination of bad timing and bad luck.
But why would you give up on someone you were once so high on?
“Well, we’ve decided who our player(s) will be that we’re going with,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see how it goes with our (roster of players) of 53 to see if we keep three or not. When we told Tre, we told him it’s not the two, I said we’d like it to keep him here as three, but we also want to do what’s good for him.” Also, we’ll see how that will be implemented.
“Now when we’ve looked for other teams and he’s told us he’d like another chance to go somewhere where we had the chance to be the two of us, we thought we got some good deals for him. There are a number of teams involved. In the end, getting fourth place was a bit better. Than we expected, saved him a lot of money, and gave him a better situation as well.”
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said they want to keep Lance at bay, but they want to do what’s best for the 23-year-old at the same time.
And the “best” is no longer with the 49ers, so Lance will get a fresh start and a new opportunity in Dallas.