Family connection, dog name show Lance-to-49ers was fate

/ by Jennifer Lee Chan
Presented By Big O Tires

Trey Lance might have been surprised when the 49ers called him on draft night Thursday, but that wasn’t the first connection between the No. 3 pick and the club that selected him. 

Before Lance was born, his father Carlton attended 49ers training camp which was coincidentally when Kyle Shanahan was a ball boy with the club. At the same time Shanahan’s father, Mike, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in San Francisco. 

Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke about how impressed they were by Lance as a person, mentioning the family foundation that shaped him. Meeting both of the quarterback’s parents while attending his second Pro Day was a highlight. 

“That was really cool,” Lynch said Thursday. “When you have a special young man like this, someone, the good lord had a hand in that, but there’s two parents that were very responsible for how this guy carries himself and it is very impressive. 

“We had a chance to meet his dad Carlton. It turns out Kyle was a ball boy here in ’92 he was in Niners camp in ’92 so we got to share some stories about that. We were blown away by the person and the aptitude and the way he carries himself.”  


Carlton is a member of the Southwest Minnesota State University Hall of Honor where he played cornerback and was on the track and field team. Along with taking part in training camp with the 49ers and the Houston Oilers, the defender played a season with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League and the London Monarchs of the World League. 

Meeting the parents wasn’t only significant to the 49ers brass. It had an impact on Lance’s family. 

“It meant the world to them, my younger brother as well,” Lance said. “Them just taking the time to say ‘Hi,’ that meant a lot. For me knowing that the coaching staff went out of their way to meet my parents, that meant a lot, not only as a football player but as a person.” 

RELATED: Why 49ers picked Lance as franchise QB

The connection doesn’t stop there. Lance’s four legged friend shares a name with his new employer. While the source of the name did not come from the NFL franchise, it fits perfectly now. 

“I do have a dog named Niner,” Lance said. “It’s more honestly because I wore No. 9, my dad wore No. 9, my brother wore No. 9 all throughout high school and and my dad wore it throughout his professional career. It works out great now, it’s got to be God. God did that.”