Fred Warner

Fred Warner caught off guard by 49ers' sudden backup QB decision

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SANTA CLARA — Fred Warner and his 49ers teammates knew something was up when they noticed Trey Lance was not on the practice field Wednesday afternoon.

Reports surfaced in the morning that Sam Darnold nailed down the backup job behind starter Brock Purdy, and the 49ers were in the process of exploring their options with Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

That news seemed to surprise those in the locker room.

“I mean, honestly, I don’t know much about the situation. Complete honesty,” Warner said. “I came out to practice and I saw there were only three quarterbacks out there. Trey wasn’t out there. So, I’m trying to ask around to see what’s going on. There’s not a clear answer right now.”

Neither general manager John Lynch nor coach Kyle Shanahan provided any clarification of Lance’s status with the team while the club made it known Lance is available in a trade.

The 49ers close out the preseason Friday against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium. The regular-season opener is Sunday, Sept. 10, against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

“Obviously, [I] love Trey,” Warner said. “I don’t know what’s going on with him right now. What’s going to be next, but, yeah, just got to keep preparing, getting ready for that game on Friday, preparing toward Pittsburgh and getting better.

“But with the QB stuff, honestly, not sure about what’s going on.”

Purdy, Darnold and Brandon Allen were the quarterbacks on the practice field while Lance's whereabouts were unknown. The team did not provide answers on whether Lance's absence was excused.

"It was weird seeing three guys out there," Warner said.

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