49ers QB Trey Lance 'feels horrible' for Brock Purdy following NFC championship injury
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance knows how Brock Purdy feels.
He watched in street clothes from the sideline of the NFC championship game as Purdy sustained what ended up being a complete UCL tear in his throwing elbow, which effectively ended the game for him (though he did return but threw just two short passes). Five months earlier, Lance sustained an ankle injury that ended his season after less than two games.
"Nothing can be taken away from him," Lance told Yahoo Sports' Matt Harmon. "I feel horrible for him for what happened in the NFC championship game, but I know he’s going to be back healthy in a few months.”
Now, the pair will go into the 2023 season vying for the starting role that was given to Lance at the beginning of the 2022 season. We already know the 49ers won't bring back Jimmy Garoppolo, but what they decide to do with Lance and Purdy will be one of the more fascinating storylines this summer.
On one hand, San Francisco has Lance: the widely-touted No. 3 overall pick in 2021 who sat behind Garoppolo during his rookie season and has attempted just 102 passes in his career. On the other hand, there's Purdy: the last pick of the 2022 draft who stepped in when both Lance and Garoppolo went down with season-ending injuries, won his first eight starts – which included two playoff games – and threw for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
It's a tough call for head coach Kyle Shanahan and one that is only more complicated by Purdy's injury, which will likely keep him off the field until training camp. Purdy looked in complete control of the 49ers' offense when he was under center, while Lance mustered only 10 points in his starting debut in a Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears before the Week 2 injury.
At the very least, though, Lance and Purdy appear to have a good personal relationship.
"He's a great dude to be around," Lance said. "Even before, going back to training camp and OTAs, being able to hang out with him off the field – he's a great human being."