Shanahan clarifies Lance was drafted as 49ers' QB of future

Trey Lance Kyle Shanahan

SANTA CLARA -- Kyle Shanahan’s top priority with Trey Lance is simply the health of his quarterback's knee. 

While there is wild speculation outside of team headquarters which quarterback might give the 49ers the best chance to win Sunday in Chicago, Shanahan is more concerned about Lance getting through Wednesday’s practice.  

Shanahan says his thought process is shared by both general manager John Lynch and CEO and owner Jed York. Shanahan understands the questions about who might give the team an advantage after losing four games straight, but first and foremost, he wants to make sure Lance is healthy enough to practice. 

“We didn’t draft Trey to just fix this year,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “We drafted him so he could be the quarterback of the future and that’s a matter of time. We are not playing him just because what our record is, or just because. 

“That’s why our first discussion is how healthy is he and how is he going to look today. Just because of how our last four games have gone, it doesn’t really affect if we’re going to play Trey or not.” 

Shanahan believes that Lance’s experience in the loss to Arizona in Week 5 was good for the rookie. He was looking forward to helping the rookie take what Lance learned from the experience and grow from it. 

Unfortunately for both parties, Lance's knee injury he sustained was worse than they had thought, sidelining him for two weeks. Lance has been cleared to practice Wednesday, but it will be on a limited basis.


If the rookie makes it through the week without any setbacks with his health, there is a possibility that he could be called on for a handful of plays against the Bears. Shanahan reiterated that Lance was drafted for the future of the franchise, but for now they will take the necessary time preparing for his eventual role as the starter while Jimmy Garoppolo remains QB1. 

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“You don’t just do that because you’re not playing the way you want to play and think you’re going to put a rookie in and think he’s going to be the answer to everything,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think that’s fair to him and I don’t think that’s right for the team. 

“I don’t think it’s the right time for him to start full time right now, especially when I don’t know if he can get through practice today. I want to see if he’s healthy today first. And then when he’s healthy, for more than one day, then we will see when it will be the best time for him.” 

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