Quarterback Trey Lance is 22 years old and has been a starter in only one season since he played his final high school game in the fall of 2017.
But the eldest member of the 49ers believes Lance already assumed a leadership role with the 49ers in the offseason before his expected first season as an NFL starter.
“He's a lot more mature than people think and/or know,” kicker Robbie Gould, 39, said of Lance on the latest episode of "49ers Talk." “He's a young kid. I think I started playing in the NFL when he was 3, so it makes me feel a little bit older than normal.
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“I think he looks more comfortable in the offense. I think he's a great leader in the locker room.”
The 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall to select Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft. He started two games last season as a rookie while serving as Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup. Garoppolo is expected to be medically cleared soon after undergoing shoulder surgery in March.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said recently he still expects Garoppolo to be traded before the start of the regular season to clear the way for Lance to take over as the starter.
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"Obviously, we all love Jimmy, and it's a business,” Gould said. “But at the end of the day, they're making decisions to make the team the best team that they can.
"And I think you're going to see Trey Lance take the helm and be ready and more prepared. And he had a chance to sit behind Jimmy and learn last year, which I think is helpful because he didn't just get thrown into the fire. And when he did play, he played pretty well."
The 49ers are scheduled to report to training camp in Santa Clara on July 26.