Trey Lance

Aiyuk believes Lance in ‘good spot' after 49ers-Cowboys trade

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SANTA CLARA — Brandon Aiyuk and Trey Lance weren't just 49ers teammates; they are close friends.

Aiyuk and Lance now will continue their respective NFL careers on different teams after the 49ers traded the young quarterback to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2024 fourth-round draft pick Friday.

The wideout said he saw Lance before the 49ers' final preseason contest Friday, as well as Sunday, before he left for the Lonestar State and his new team.

“I think he was good,” Aiyuk said. “Some weight was lifted off him, it looked like to me. I think he’s in a good spot.”

Aiyuk worked out with Lance last offseason, building their on-field chemistry as the quarterback prepared to take on the 49ers' starting quarterback role. Unfortunately for Lance and the 49ers, a foot injury in Week 2 sidelined him for the remainder of the 2022 NFL season.

The 49ers moved forward with now-Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo until he sustain a season-ending injury of his own, opening the door for Brock Purdy, who took over in Week 13 before an ulnar collateral ligament injury in his throwing arm ultimately ended the 49ers' season in the NFC Championship Game.

A healthy Lance returned to the field ready to compete for the backup role behind Purdy during the offseason and training camp. When he was informed that Sam Darnold had won the No. 2 job, he and the 49ers agreed that a new team might be in everyone’s best interest.

"It’s still surprising just because it’s a close friend of mine that came in after me,” Aiyuk said. “I’ve been with him this whole, entire time, two seasons. Surprised from that standpoint, but in terms of how stuff goes, I understand. I understand the competitor that he is. He wants to compete and go out there and get a chance to show who he is to himself, and the world.”

While Aiyuk admitted it has been weird to see social media edits of Lance wearing the uniform of a bitter 49ers' NFC rival, he understands that it’s the NFL's business side. Now that training camp is over, all attention in Santa Clara now is on San Francisco's Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Sept. 10.

RELATED: Why Peter King believes 49ers' 'impatient' Lance trade was a mistake

Aiyuk is thankful for the work that he did with Lance and the two obviously will remain friends.

“Credit to him, but he’s on his own path now,” Aiyuk said. “We are on different paths now. We are focused on the people in this building and myself right now.”

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