Why Aiyuk says 49ers' QB storyline is non-issue in locker room originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA -- There has been nonstop media discussion regarding the 49ers’ Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo quarterback situation since the beginning of the NFL offseason, but Brandon Aiyuk claims those are only big storylines to those outside team headquarters.
The 49ers' wide receiver spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area after Sunday’s 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks and shared that the locker room has not felt the whirlwind of rumors and opinions at all. Players are solidly in support of whoever is under center for the club, which is now Garoppolo after Lance sustained a season-ending ankle injury.
Both Garoppolo and Lance are well respected in the locker room. When asked about the magnitude of the controversy now that the veteran quarterback is back on the field firmly as the starter, Aiyuk smiled and laughed a little at the concept.
“For y’all,” Aiyuk said. “It’s football. One man goes down, everyone has to pick him up and someone has to come in. It’s the game that we play.”
While sports pundits debate if coach Kyle Shanahan is at fault for Lance’s injury, players including Aiyuk know that potential injury is part of the risk of playing the game. No player is 100 percent healthy after the regular season starts, and some are not even at that point.
The physicality of the game takes a toll on all players, and the 49ers on both sides of the ball will band together with whoever is on the field. But while it’s a business and the game must go on, Aiyuk was still heartbroken for Lance.
“To see him go down early was tough,” Aiyuk said to reporters. “We know how this is. We tried to rally behind him. Everyone went to go talk to him at halftime. We finished the rest of the game for him, and then we talked to him afterward. But when you have a guy like that go down early, it is always tough.”
Aiyuk cited the work ethic of his 49ers teammates for the offense's success once Garoppolo stepped on the field late in the first quarter after Lance suffered his season-ending ankle injury. The third-year wideout also believes it was a team effort to come away with a victory over their division rivals.
When Garoppolo ran a quarterback sneak into the end zone for a touchdown with less than two minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter, the entire offense gathered around the veteran to congratulate him. Aiyuk ran quickly to the pile to help his quarterback up off the ground.
“True professional,” Aiyuk said of Garoppolo. “He was excited, he was turned up.”
The win might have meant a little more to the entire team after letting Week 1 slip away from them. A victory in their home opener facing the Seahawks, in the wake of losing Lance for the season, helped soften the blow, if only a little bit.
“You know how nice that is to come back at home after getting upset last week,” Aiyuk said. “We got to come home in front of our fans and get it done. It feels great to beat those guys.”