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How 49ers QB Trey Lance is approaching awkward Jimmy Garoppolo competition

Trey Lance is all for a friendly competition with fellow 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo — but he wants to get to know him first.

After the North Dakota State product was selected with the No. 3 overall pick by the 49ers in Thursday’s NFL Draft, he discussed his intentions for the start of his NFL career.

“Honestly, I’m not really worried about it right now,” the 20-year-old said when asked if he anticipates playing right away. “Right now, I’m just focused on getting there, learning as much as I possibly can. Getting to know Jimmy and the guys in the room and learning. Getting to know him, becoming close with him and like I said, just learning as much as I can. Then at that point, obviously competing.”

Many fans believed Garoppolo — who’s been the 49ers’ starting quarterback since 2017 — was on his way out of San Francisco when the team traded up in late March for the No. 3 overall pick to draft a quarterback.

Not to mention, before the start of the draft on Thursday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan set the stage for an awkward welcome to the franchise for the team’s next quarterback.

When asked in a pre-draft press conference if he saw Garoppolo on the 49ers roster come Monday, following the draft, Shanahan said: “I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive on Sunday, so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday.”

Trey Lance said he wants to become close with new 49ers teammate Jimmy Garoppolo.
Trey Lance said he wants to become close with new 49ers teammate Jimmy Garoppolo.
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After playing coy about Garoppolo’s future with the team, Shanahan back-tracked on his initial comments and told reporters he “totally bombed that on Monday” — claiming that he was “messing” with Garoppolo. Shanahan added that he spoke to the 49ers starting QB after the comments and noted the pair’s close relationship.

When the 49ers selected Lance, Shanahan said it’s going to be “very hard” for the rookie to come in and beat out Garoppolo — “who is our quarterback right now.”

It still remains a possibility that Garoppolo could be traded before the season. For now, though, Shanahan is anticipating an eventual QB competition.

“The day that it looks like Trey can compete with him and he’s ready to go, then we’ll know that and our players will see that and we won’t hesitate on that,” Shanahan said.

Garoppolo, for his part, has remained silent throughout the media chaos. It’s been reported, though, that he’s not happy with the 49ers after Shanahan’s press conference-gone-wrong.

It’ll be interesting to see how the former Patriots passer will embrace Lance and how the two can shake the inevitable cringeworthy aftermath of Shanahan’s pre-draft comments.

Lance, whose film, high-IQ and maturity won over the 49ers in the QB-heavy draft, started just 17 college games at NDSU.

The 49ers are hoping for a more exciting season after a quiet 2020, that was plagued with injuries. They finished last in the NFC West with a 6-10 record.

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