“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday, October 6, “but I think in this league when you do the right things and you’re made of the right stuff, eventually opportunity will find its way back to you.”
“And I think that will happen in Trey’s case. And when it does, we’ll all see the talent everybody knows that’s inside of him,” Williams added. “He’s a very talented guy, a very talented player. It’s unfortunate how his situation turned out here. I don’t think it had anything to do with his talent level or anything.”
The 49ers traded Lance, a former No. 3 draft pick from North Dakota State, to the Dallas Cowboys before the season. Lance remains third on the Cowboys depth chart as he did in San Francisco this year — a far cry from the expectations of a top-three selection.
“He had some unfortunate circumstances that opened up windows for other guys to come in and show what they could do,” Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area regarding Lance. “Things like that happen. It was totally out of his control.”
Trey Lance Hasn’t Played a Full Season of Football Since 2019
Other things beyond Lance’s control happened before he ever donned a 49ers uniform. He dominated with NDSU in 2019, but his 2020 season was reduced to one game due to COVID, which left a smaller sample size for NFL scouts amid his pre-draft hype.
San Francisco opted to start former quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo instead of Lance for 2021. Hype, COVID, waiting, and injury amounted to nine games — college and NFL — played by Lance since 2019.
“As far as what he could control, he did what he could to improve every day, day-in, day-out. And he was a great teammate,” Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area.
Cowboys’ Dak Prescott Says Trey Lance is ‘Very Helpful’
This week, Lance has provided intel as best he can to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. The eighth-year veteran appreciates it.
“He has been very helpful, honestly,” Prescott told the media via The Athletic’s John Machota. “Having spent time there. Just in the way that their defense can move, certain calls they may have to make when we put them in certain positions. Things you kind of see on film but get some definitive answers from him in the way they did things. He’s been very helpful.”
Trey Lance Likely Won’t Play Sunday, but a Bright Future Remains
Lance, who hasn’t played a snap as Cowboy yet, likely won’t play against his former team under the national spotlight on “Sunday Night Football”. Ironically, a former Bison teammate of his, fullback Hunter Luepke, is likely to see snaps for the Cowboys against the 49ers.
Williams, however, knows from experience that it’s far from time to write off Lance’s NFL career.
“Look around the league, guys have been written off for whatever reason, whatever the circumstance may be, and they get a second chance,” Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area. “They get another opportunity and they make the most of it. You see why they were here the whole time.”