Why Griese decided to return to the 49ers for the second season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — The experience of being on a team 13 years after retiring from the NFL influenced Brian Griese’s decision to return as quarterbacks coach for the 49ers.
There was uncertainty if the former ESPN commentator would want to sacrifice time in Denver with his family for a second season with the club. On Thursday, Griese shared with local Bay Area media the factors that influenced his decision to return to the 49ers for the 2023 season.
“I was fulfilled in the job,” Griese said. “I talk to our guys a lot about self-actualization and it’s an opportunity for me to take on a new challenge in my life, at this point in the journey. I appreciate that, and I appreciate the opportunity, and I love being part of a team – competing, winning and losing.
What started out as a “normal” job as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL turned into the unimaginable. Prior to the end of the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers saw four different quarterbacks under center throughout the 2022 season.
Trey Lance, who was signed as a starter before the start of training camp, suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2, which opened the door for Jimmy Garoppolo to take over as the starter. Then, 11 weeks later, rookie Brock Purdy took over and helped the team reach the NFC Championship Game. Before the end of the game, the club’s fourth quarterback, Josh Johnson, also saw some time on the field.
Griese received a lot of credit for managing and coaching his group well enough to go deep into the playoffs. The former NFL’s 11 years of experience in the league made him a valuable resource for every quarterback who jumped into the fray.
“I don’t think my experience helps them deal with stress,” Griese said. “I think stress is stress, and you have to create tools to deal with that stress. I think I can help them look into some of these tools, but everyone is different.
“I try to help them anticipate some of the stress that’s coming, maybe some of the heat that’s coming, but it’s a difficult position. There is no easy path, you have to learn from experience.
Both Garoppolo and Purdy shared that Griese’s ability to see the game through the eyes of a quarterback was a valuable trait for a coach. Although sometimes it wasn’t the easiest quality for them to manage, in the end it was extremely valuable.
“I do my best to prepare them for this to help them understand that there will be ups and downs and how we will get through it,” Griese said. “At the end of the day, the best way to deal with that is to build relationships within the team and the dressing room and that’s what they all have.”
RELATED: How the 49ers’ special teams are adjusting to the NFL’s new kickoff rule
Griese already has a new set of challenges this season with the arrival of Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen to Santa Clara, while finally getting to work with a healthy Lance until Purdy is fully recovered from the injury at the UCL he suffered in that fateful NFC Championship game that Griese would rather not talk about.
“Oh man, I don’t really want to go back now,” Griese said after a long break. “You go through a whole season and there’s a lot of sacrifice from all of us. Just being away from family in my case. But you get to the point where it’s, ‘OK, we’re finally here and we’re going to try our luck.’ And I felt like pretty quickly in that game it was, ‘We’re really unlucky.’
Download and follow the 49ers Talk podcast