Trey Lance

Shanahan explains why Lance was absent from 49ers practice

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Trey Lance was noticeably absent from Wednesday's 49ers practice -- and for good reason.

After news broke that San Francisco was naming veteran Sam Darnold the backup to starting quarterback Brock Purdy, which coach Kyle Shanahan later confirmed, the third-year signal-caller was nowhere to be found on the practice field.

In an interview with KNBR 680's "Tolbert & Copes" on Wednesday, Shanahan explained why the decision to name Darnold, not Lance, the backup was so difficult and provided an explanation for why Lance was absent from practice.

"Trey has put his heart and soul into this like almost all players do," Shanahan said. "These are conversations I have to have with guys a lot -- they're never easy, they're really tough. But it's also tough when the spotlight's on as much as it is with this situation with it being Trey, with it being our quarterback, his pick in the draft. So I knew that was hard on him.

"We had such a light practice today and watching how Trey was when we talked, we just thought it was better. 'Hey, take the day off, get away a little bit, clear your head some and we'll talk later in the afternoon and we'll get you back in here tomorrow.' Especially the practice we had today, it was our shortest one of the year, first time we didn't do pads. Just felt it was the best thing for him."

An excused absence after what likely was very disheartening news for the young quarterback certainly makes sense. It remains to be seen how Lance will respond to the 49ers' decision and if he would prefer to play elsewhere, but if he reports to practice Thursday, as Shanahan anticipates, Lance will have another opportunity to prove himself in San Francisco's third and final preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday at Levi's Stadium.

Shanahan said Lance will play and enter the game at quarterback after Darnold, similar to last week's preseason win over the Denver Broncos.

Even though the quarterback pecking order is set, all eyes will continue to be on Lance and Darnold as they navigate through the preseason finale and throughout the remaining practices before the 49ers' Week 1 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10.

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