QB Nate Sudfeld Press Conference
QB Nate Sudfeld
Press Conference – July 28, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
In the early part of the offseason, what was that like for you? At what point were you certain that you were coming back here?
“Yeah, it was pretty fluid this offseason. Obviously, a big emotional season, how it ended and everything, but I knew if the opportunity came for me to come back I was definitely very interested to come back. Yeah, last year I really felt like I learned a lot and really enjoyed this organization, the coaches, the players, the locker room, so I knew if an opportunity to come back opened up, I was very interested to come back.”
What was that dynamic like for you? You’re not an old guy by any stretch, but kind of being the mentor for Trey and somebody who, this year would be kind of the guy that would be behind him and helping bring him along?
“Yeah. I just tried to not look too far ahead when I signed here last year, I just wanted to learn the system and help where I could. And yeah, I was just blown away by Trey when I first got in. Obviously as a player, you guys all see his talent and I’m sure you’ve gotten to know him pretty well. I was blown away with who he is as a man. So he made it really easy for me and fortunately, I’ve been around the NFL a little bit and I’ve seen a lot of football. And so, I was able to give some advice here and there where I felt like I could, but I didn’t try to over overload him or give him pointers on everything. Just in moments where he would reach out or ask me, he was just such a humble, hardworking guy who just wanted to get better. So it just inspired me to– I learned a lot from him, but then he would just ask and we just developed a really cool, genuine relationship and friendship. So yeah, I was really thankful for that last year.”
He’s been very complimentary about the fact that you offered some tutelage, not necessarily about football, but about how the NFL works. Maybe like, I think he even said the business aspect of the sport. What were some of the things that you kind of advised them on and helped tutor him on in that regard?
“Yeah, obviously playing quarterback in this league as a starter, backup, third-string, whatever, there’s a lot on you, whether it’s on the field, off the field, everything. So I just kind of drew on some of my experience, things that I’ve been around, guys I’ve learned from. I’ve been very fortunate to learn from some amazing quarterbacks. [Minnesota Vikings QB] Kirk Cousins was great to me when I got drafted and then [Washington Commanders QB] Carson Wentz, [Indianapolis Colts QB] Nick Foles, we all had some great relationships, so I was able to pick the brains of those guys. I had a lot of guys who really mentored me when I was young, so it was never a question I was always going to return the favor if a young player ever had questions. But yeah, a lot of things with Trey, he would just ask about routine. How to take care of your body, how to properly study during the week, just because I’ve done a lot of seasons. I’ve prepared, done the weekly preparation all season my first six years in the league. So just little things like that, but nothing too earth shattering, just a lot of relationship, friendship building and then little pointers here and there.”
What kind of growth have you seen from him since then and how he’s taken that advice and implemented it?
“Yeah, he’s growing really well, I’m very excited for him. He has such a growth-mindset, which is kind of a term these days of, he just wants to be better every day and it’s a true, genuine approach to want to get better. He’s also super confident, but in such a humble way. Yeah, I’ve just seen him grow into his own, understand in what areas he wants to get better and understand areas that are his strengths. And then just let his personality show a little bit more as he’s been around, been here longer and his teammates really feel that and see that.”
You’re a somewhat local guy, grew up in Modesto, started at Modesto Christian High. What does it mean to be back here another year playing what a hundred miles from where you grew up from?
“Yeah, fun fact, so I was actually born in Santa Clara at the Kaiser Hospital. Yeah, some weird trivia. Didn’t live here, lived in San Jose until I was about four, three or four and then moved to Modesto, which is really where I grew up. Yeah, I grew up a Niner fan for sure, so ever since I went off to college, I was always in the East Coast Time Zone, so I didn’t even know what it was like to be on the West Coast Time Zone, let alone somewhere closer to home. So it was pretty special last year, just being closer to home, being near family and yeah, you just can’t make it up. It’s just how opportunities happen, but it’s definitely, having some high school friends or people I grew up near reaching out, it’s pretty cool sometimes. I’m like, yeah, you know I’m just up the road now. Crazy how it kind of comes full circle sometimes.”
Who was your favorite 49er growing up?
“Man, I could go down a list. Obviously, [Hall of Fame QB] Joe Montana, I was pretty young, but he was obviously who he is, Joe Cool. But as I started watching football a little bit more, what I can remember, [Hall of Fame QB] Steve Young, obviously I loved him. I have a couple pictures of myself as a little kid wearing– I’d paint like number eight on a white shirt. I eventually did get a Steve Young Jersey, which was really cool. And then [Hall of Fame WR] Jerry Rice was the man. But we actually were family friends, my older brothers played soccer with [Former 49ers TE] Brent Jones’s daughter, and so Brent Jones was a family favorite also.”
Is there anything you did differently this offseason or maybe emphasized knowing given the situation you’re one snap away from being on the field?
“Every year I’ve been in the league, I’ve tried to approach it slightly different, just tried to fine tune my approach, but I’ve always tried to approach as if I’m playing a full season. Little areas I wanted to improve on whether it’s footwork things, how I process the game, how I study the game, how I take care of my body; every year is just a little bit different and fine tuning, but nothing too crazy different. I just kind of hit the ground running pretty much after the season every time because I just want to be a better version of myself the next year. I always believe if I can just get a little bit better for the next year, I’ll be even more prepared if an opportunity comes and my name is called upon, so yeah, nothing too crazy different. Just got to work right away.”
You’ve probably seen a lot of younger quarterbacks coming into the league. How is Trey as far as the processing part of it, going through the progressions and just the mental speed he does it?
“Yeah, Trey’s really impressive. He’s got a lot of cognitive abilities; his processing power is really great. He can picture things really well, understanding and then the humility to ask questions. If there are things you don’t understand because you only know what you know, and then you don’t know what you don’t know, so ask the questions and to work on things and not be afraid to say, ‘Hey, I’m not sure about this look,’ or whatever. Just that approach he has, I think is going to just pay dividends for him down the road. As he keeps doing that, because as you guys know, it’s a very hard position, but yeah I’m very excited. He has all the physical and mental tools to be a really great quarterback in this league.”
The way the 2020 season ended, with all that controversy and your name was in the middle of it. What did that teach you about the league? How did you handle that situation and in your role as a backup quarterback, how do you approach that from keeping yourself prepared, ready to play, but at the same time, knowing that you’re also there to help the guys in front of you?
“Yeah, this league, I think everybody at any position is going to face adversity points. And that doesn’t define you, it’s how you respond from those and seeing where you could change your process, how you can get better and sometimes stuff happens in this league and you just can’t lose your confidence. You have to trust your process and you have to fine tune your process and continue to get better. But yeah man, I was very excited after I had some great years in Philadelphia to get a new opportunity to come here, learn a new system, be with a coaching staff I’ve always admired. I’ve always really admired [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] since I was drafted in Washington and knew Kirk Cousins. I’d always ask Kirk about Kyle and yeah, so I was just really excited about a new opportunity to dive into a new offense and just see how well I could grasp it, how well I could play in it and just continue to improve as a player. I just love the sport. I love the comradery in the locker room. I love playing the position and yeah, I’ve just enjoyed the process of being in San Francisco.”