Last year, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to ESPN’s Ed Werder about Trey Lance gaining a bigger role in the rushing game as the team dealt with injuries to tailback. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel ended up taking a brunt of the extra responsibilities and setting an NFL wideout record with eight rushing touchdowns.
In the aftermath of Lance’s season-ending ankle/leg injury on Sunday, some football fans on social media have resurfaced Shanahan’s comment.
“He’s not Lamar Jackson," Shanahan told Werder. “Trey is a quarterback who has the ability to run. But to just line him up and run him, I mean, the game’s too physical.”
Lance’s ankle crumpled as he unsuccessfully tried to avoid big tackles from 237-pound linebacker Cody Barton and hulking 345-pound tackle Bryan Mone.
During his conference call with reporters on Monday, coach Kyle Shanahan was asked to revisit his 2021 comments to Werder.
“That means we didn't want to move him to running back,” Shanahan said. “You don’t just go out there and run him every single play. He’s a quarterback who can run."
Well, what’s done is done. You can argue if Shanahan is at fault for putting Lance in harm’s way, but he’s in recovery mode now.
As of 3:30 p.m. PT Monday, Shanahan said he hadn’t followed up with Lance about his “successful” surgery earlier in the day.
Shanahan doesn’t want the 22-year-old to fade into the background, though, as he expects Lance to return to the 49ers facility as soon as possible. Shanahan said he believes Lance should be ready for the start of the 2023 season.
“I’m sure he’s gonna be around here all the time, do his rehab here,” Shanahan said. “We haven’t even discussed that, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t that case. Right now, just got out of surgery a little bit ago. We’re all kinda worried about him and making sure that he’s doing all right mentally and physically. Talk to him real soon, I know some guys have already been over there to visit him.
“As soon as he can get back in here rehabbing, we’re gonna want him to be a part of everything. Every meeting he can be at, every practice he can be at. I know he’s not gonna be able to do all of that because of how much he has to rehab, but especially in those meetings and stuff, we don’t plan on Trey being away from us at all, whenever he’s not taking care of his ankle. We plan on him being with us.”