SANTA CLARA — Contrary to what the public might think, the relationship between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance is not uncomfortable.
Both 49ers quarterbacks and their head coach have attempted to lay to rest any rumors about tension between the two signal-callers. Whether the public and media will take their statements at face value remains to be seen, but on the surface, it’s business as usual at team headquarters.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about awkwardness,” Garoppolo said with a chuckle Wednesday. “No, it’s me and Trey, we’ve had a good relationship. We really have. It’s sort of one of those things. It is what it is. This business is weird, but you know, at the end of the day we’re in that locker room, we’re around each other so much that, you know, it’s just business.”
Lance, who has the incredible task of digesting Kyle Shanahan’s playbook, and adjusting to the speed of the NFL game is thankful for his veteran counterpart. Absorbing everything he can from Garoppolo’s knowledge and experience has been helpful.
“Jimmy played in the Super Bowl two years ago,” Lance said Thursday. “So he does a lot, a lot of things at a really high level. So it’s been awesome for me. I don’t know if there’s anyone better out there that I could learn from right now.”
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft not only is a rookie learning the ropes in training camp but also has to get back up to speed after he played in only one game in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the FCS season to this spring.
Lance worked with several receivers during the offseason including Brandon Aiyuk and Mohamed Sanu which has helped him build chemistry on the field. Shanahan mentioned that Lance has looked more at ease early in training camp than he did during OTAs.
Shanahan also believes Garoppolo is understanding of his position after going through the same process under Tom Brady in New England, and that Garoppolo’s natural leadership style is conducive for fostering a good relationship with Lance.
“It’s about the experience and feeling the live reps and Jimmy has gone through it a number of times and he’s done it at a high level,” Shanahan said. “So that’s, to me, where the help comes. Jimmy’s made for that, his personality and stuff. He’s one of the guys in there and whether it’s with Trey or anyone else — it’s been a good dynamic so far.”
Garoppolo said his relationship with Lance has developed organically even though Lance will one day take over for Garoppolo. There is no malicious intent or withholding of information from the veteran who has come back for his fifth season with the 49ers with a renewed intensity.
The 29-year old quarterback explained he is a willing resource for the rookie in all aspects on and off the field. Lance is grateful for the comfortable relationship.
“There’s no awkwardness at all,” Lance said. “We’re good friends. We got to spend a lot more time together now and definitely looking forward to continuing learning as much as I can from him. He’s one of the best people that I’ve ever been around on and off the field.
“I watch how he operates on every single play. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there better for me to learn from as a human being and as a football player.”