NBC Sports

Young cites key difference between Montana dynamic, Jimmy-Trey

NBC Sports

Joe Montana was a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback at the time.

The 49ers decided it was worth giving up second- and fourth-round draft picks for their quarterback of the future.

That player was Steve Young, who provided the 49ers with back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

Other than the 49ers acquiring their quarterback-in-waiting this year, there are very few comparisons to the 49ers’ current quarterback quandary.

“It’s not similar at all because Joe was the king,” Young said on 49ers Talk. “Bill (Walsh) had told me Joe had two back surgeries and couldn’t play very long. I was happy Joe was healthy, but that wasn’t the deal I had made. But here I was, and I wanted to play, too.”

Of course, Jimmy Garoppolo does not have the resume of Montana.

And the 49ers invested a lot more with John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan’s decision to move up into position to select Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“They didn’t give up all these draft picks and everything in the bank to get me,” Young said. “And there was no position that people didn’t think Joe Montana wasn’t great. That’s a huge difference.”

The one similarity: Uneasiness.

Although Young is not in the 49ers’ headquarters in Santa Clara, he knows from experience that the uncertainty creates a difficult situation for all parties to navigate.

“Joe and I, very similar to Trey and Jimmy, all four of us, none of us are caustic, toxic personalities,” Young said. “We’re going to get along, and we did.

 

“It’s awkward for them right now — 100 percent awkward for Trey and Jimmy. But they’re not toxic people, either. So in the locker room, it’s not a problem. But yet it is a problem. For the 49ers back then, I’d say that it was awkward for the team trying to figure out sometimes how to handle it and what to do.”

Young said the situation worked for the 49ers in the late-1980s because it brought out the best in Montana and Young.

The 49ers won two more Super Bowls with Montana, who earned league MVP awards in 1988 and 1990.

Young started 10 games over his first four seasons with the 49ers before taking over and winning two MVPs and one Super Bowl.

Earlier this year, Young sized up the 49ers’ quarterback situation as one that is “fraught with terror.”

RELATED: What Young told Jimmy G in pregame chat

The 49ers went all-in on Lance, who at this point has clearly not placed himself in position to make Shanahan seriously contemplate which quarterback gives him the best chance to win.

“Trust me, if Trey could get on the field and produce, I think he’d be on the field producing,” Young said. “All I can do is read what Kyle, what John and what the team are saying to me. What they’re saying to me, Trey is not ready.

“When I say 'fraught with terror,' when they went all-in, throw everything in the bank to do this . . . if it does not work out perfectly, then how does it work out?”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast