Trey Lance on trade speculation: 'I have no information'
The former NDSU quarterback now with San Francisco 49ers attended the Bison's final spring practice
FARGO — The smile was the same. The polite manner was the same. But Trey Lance wasn't about to give a scoop to a reporter from the city in which he played college football.
The former North Dakota State and current San Francisco 49ers quarterback attended the Bison's final spring practice Saturday at the Nodak Insurance Football Performance Complex — his younger brother is a receiver at NDSU — and was his usual friendly self with players, coaches, fans and media. He signed autographs and took photos with recruits the Bison had on-campus.
But when asked by The Forum about trade speculation involving him that is swirling in NFL media, Lance was curt.
"I got no comment on that," Lance said. "I have no information."
He is certainly aware of the chatter, social media being as pervasive as it is.
Multiple national reporters and the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper have said the 49ers are fielding calls from other teams asking about Lance's availability. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk both reported teams are wondering if Lance is available since Brock Purdy is the Niners' likely starter.
Florio reported the 49ers and Vikings talked about Lance at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
All reports say no deal is imminent and that the Niners didn't initiate the discussions.
It still leaves Lance in an awkward spot going into his third season after being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He's only played eight games over two seasons, including four starts, and missed most of last season after suffering a broken ankle in the the second game.
Since Lance led the Bison to a victory in the Football Championship Subdivision title game in January 2020, he's played only nine games — one game with NDSU in the COVID-devastated 2020 fall college season and eight with the 49ers. He's still only 23 years old.
The Niners cleared the way for him to be the team's starter in 2022, relegating Jimmy Garoppolo to backup status before the season, but Lance struggled in a season-opening loss at Chicago and was injured in the second game.
Garoppolo returned and played well, leading to speculation he would remain as starter, before he was lost for the season with an injury. Purdy, a rookie out of Iowa State and the final player selected in the 2022 draft, took over as starter and played well in leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship game.
Purdy was hurt in that game, had offseason elbow surgery and might not be ready to begin the season this fall. Niners general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have said Purdy will return as the starter.
Lance and veteran free agent pickup Sam Darnold will split snaps during the summer and fall camp until Purdy returns.
Lance said he is fully healed from the ankle surgery.
"I'm all cleared, so I'm good to go," he said. "I got cleared a little over a month ago so I'm feeling really good and let's get back to work."
The focus this offseason is to stay healthy and continue to improve.
"Last year I played the one game in Chicago and then got hurt, so it was kind of over before it even got started. But I am just excited for this year," Lance said. "This offseason, just focusing on getting better. Focusing on getting these guys better in the locker room and just being a great teammate, a great leader."
Saturday was Lance's first look at NDSU's new $55 million indoor practice facility, a building that was talked about during his recruiting pitch before he committed to the Bison for the 2018 season out of Marshall, Minn.
The building's locker rooms, weight room and meeting rooms are still under construction but the indoor and outdoor practice spaces are finished. The Bison held all their practices in the building this spring.
"I'm super excited for it to get finished, but even this indoor is just amazing," Lance said. "They don't have to deal with the weather and the old bubble and everything like that. It's awesome."
Lance's brother Bryce is a redshirt sophomore receiver for the Bison, one of several young players scrapping for playing time. Parents Carlton and Angie were also on the sidelines during Saturday's practice.
Both NDSU head coach Matt Entz and starting quarterback Cam Miller pointed to Bryce Lance as a young player who impressed during spring workouts.
"Every day there's been three or four plays where I'm like, 'Was that Bryce?' And, yeah, that was Bryce," Miller said. "He's one of those kids itching to get on the field. Him and I had a great conversation last year. I said, 'Hey, if you want to see the field, you got to take it one guy at a time. Where am I on the depth chart?' I told him you have the size, you have the speed, you have the everything to play."
Brotherly love.@treylance09 watches lil bro @BryceLance09 get into the end zone. pic.twitter.com/iNFJ9HEFYU— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) April 22, 2023