49ers OTAs

Griese passionately defends Lance's challenging NFL career

Trey Lance sustained a finger injury as a rookie and a season-ending ankle injury last season.

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SANTA CLARA -- Trey Lance doesn't have a lot of high-level on-field experience, but 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese passionately explained Thursday how the quarterback has handled it.

Griese spoke to local Bay Area media and detailed how Lance spent his time away from the field while recovering from both a finger and ankle injury during the 2022 NFL season.

“I think that Trey had an unbelievably difficult season and I’m so proud of what he was able to accomplish,” Griese said. “Nobody wants to be in that situation and Trey did everything possible he could do last offseason to get healthy. I don’t think that people realize how difficult that was for him.

“All the while trying to go out every single day and prove that you’re the guy to lead the team.”

Lance injured his finger during the 49ers' final preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Aug. 2021. While he still appeared in six regular-season contests that season, his injured finger greatly affected his play. 

Then in Week 2 last season, Lance suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Little did the public know that it wasn’t just the ankle injury that was affecting his mechanics, but lingering issues with his finger also complicated matters. 

Griese, who played 11 NFL season and was a TV commentator, overwhelming is impressed with how the 23-year old handled the time away from the field. 

“I’ve been in that situation and that’s not easy,” Griese said. “To be at that position and finally have an opportunity to play, and then to get hurt so early, it’s devastating, it really is. I’m so proud of Trey because, it did get him down but he he did not let it keep him down.”

Lance could have spent his time rehabbing away from the 49ers' facility, but instead chose to stay closely involved with all aspects of the weekly preparation. The North Dakota State product was in all quarterbacks meetings, and was at practices and games even though he could not participate. 

“He impacted the team in a positive way and you could feel it,” Griese said. “I could feel it in the quarterback room. I know Brock could feel it. I know the guys on offense could feel it. That’s not a given, especially at the quarterback position. You could slink away and just go lick your wounds, and get healthy and come back next year, but that’s not who Trey Lance is.

“That’s why I told him I was so proud of him for what he was able to accomplish off the field because he wasn’t able to do it on the field. I’m just happy that he’s back, he’s healthy so he can go out there and see how good he can be.”

With a fully recovered ankle and the ability to completely straighten the index finger on his throwing hand, Lance has focused on getting his mechanics back to top form and competing for the opportunity to start for the 49ers when the season begins.

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