‘I was very excited to be here’

Trey Lance’s time in San Francisco didn’t go as expected.

Now, though, Lance can move on and get a bit of a restart to his NFL career in Dallas.

“I really tried to not expect anything one way or another, but I can say that when I heard ‘Cowboys,’ I had a big smile on my face,” Lance said on Tuesday, via ESPN. “I was very excited to be here.”

Lance was traded to the Cowboys last week in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick after a rough start to his career in San Francisco. The 49ers moved up to take Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, though he ended up playing in just eight games and making only four starts. Lance spent almost all of his rookie season backing up Jimmy Garoppolo, and then he missed almost all of last season after breaking his ankle.

The former North Dakota State star had just shy of 800 passing yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions over two seasons with the 49ers.

The 49ers are now opting to go with Brock Purdy as their starter this season, and made Sam Darnold their backup last week. That made Lance the odd man out.

“I’m kind of really trying to move on, but yeah, it definitely took some time,” Lance said. “That conversation obviously wasn’t something I wanted to hear, but that’s the reality of the situation. Nothing but respect and gratitude for everyone there — coaching staff, locker room, athletic training staff, everyone I spent a ton of time with these last few years. Obviously, it was tough, but for me it was trying to figure out what was next and what’s going to happen in the future.”

Trey Lance was traded to the Cowboys last week after a rough start to his NFL career in San Francisco

Trey Lance was traded to the Cowboys last week after a rough start to his NFL career in San Francisco. (Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

Lance will now jump into Dallas as its third string quarterback behind Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, though it’s easy to see a path forward for Lance where he becomes Prescott’s backup in the near future.

Prescott threw for 2,860 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, though he had a career-high 15 interceptions. The 30-year-old is entering the third year of his four-year, $160 million deal this season.

Prescott said he didn’t have any advance notice that the Cowboys were making a move for Lance — team owner Jerry Jones said nobody did until the deal was done — but he and Lance connected last season when Lance broke his ankle. Prescott dislocated and fractured his ankle in 2020.

“The type of person he is, first and foremost. I think everyone knows that, with the Walter Payton Man of the Year and things like that, how he treats people, how I’ve seen him treat people just in the building these few days,” Lance said of Prescott. “The few conversations I had with him, just texting him when I had my ankle injury, things like that. Just the type of person he is. And obviously the football stuff kind of speaks for itself. I’m still trying to learn day one install, so for me, obviously got a long way to go there.

“But definitely looking forward to being a sponge, just soaking up everything I can from him.”

The Cowboys will open their season on Sept. 10 against the New York Giants.

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