Lance not worried about outside noise ahead of 2022 season


SANTA CLARA — There might be wildly varying opinions on how 49ers quarterback Trey Lance will perform during the 2022 NFL season but the quarterback is shutting it all out. 

The No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft is operating as the undisputed leader of the offense and part of that undertaking is remaining laser focused on what is important. For Lance, that is focusing inward on the players in the 49ers' locker room and the coaches who are preparing him for the season ahead. 

“In the most respectful way possible, it doesn't change how I feel about you guys as people,” Lance said to local media on Tuesday. “But it's not my job to care what you guys say or anyone else on social media. For me, I care about what the guys in the locker room think and what my coaching staff thinks. 

“And at the end of the day, that's my job. You guys, unfortunately, aren't the ones that are making decisions for me or really have any effect on me in again, the most respectful way possible. I know everyone's got strong opinions one way or the other, but like I said, I'm not going to go out and try to prove people wrong, prove myself right, but I'm doing it for the guys in the locker room.”  
Expectations for any first-round draft pick are high and some NFL analysts around the country have already deemed Lance “not ready” to take over the helm for the 49ers. Others believe he could take the club deep into the postseason as the missing piece that can open up Kyle Shanahan’s offense. 

Either way, Lance is maturing and growing easily into his leadership role in Santa Clara. The young quarterback reached out to all of the club’s 2022 draft picks with a congratulatory message welcoming them to the team just as Jimmy Garoppolo had done for him a year ago. 

At the podium, Lance seemed a little more at ease, knowing that his time as finally come to show the world what he is capable of. A full offseason has helped the 22-year-old prepare mentally for what is to come as opposed to the frenetic pace of preparing for the draft. 

Garoppolo remains on the 49ers' roster but has been absent from the facility as he recovers and rehabs from offseason shoulder surgery in March. Lance has stepped up in the veteran’s place.

RELATED: Jerry Rice predicted 49ers' pick of "special" Lance

“Just continuing to find my role,” Lance said. “Last year was definitely different. For me, I want to keep getting better. That's my focus right now. The leadership stuff is, that's just being a good guy in the locker room, but that's stuff that's earned. That's not really anything I can say to be a leader. But, I'm just trying to be a good guy, be a good teammate, have my teammates back at the end of the day.”

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