Ex-Lion O'Sullivan wins starting 49ers QB job

J.T. O'Sullivan will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when the NFL regular season begins next month.

O'Sullivan clinched the job with a strong performance during Thursday night's 37-30 exhibition victory over Chicago, and 49ers coach Mike Nolan said it was time to make O'Sullivan's status official after a summer of uncertainty.

“J.T. O'Sullivan will be our starting quarterback going into the season and I'm expecting him to succeed,” Nolan said Friday. “I'm very confident J.T. is at the point where he's our best man for the job right now.”

O'Sullivan, a long shot to become the starter when training camp began at the end of July, overtook veteran holdovers Alex Smith and Shaun Hill during the past two weeks. The sixth-year player, now with his eighth NFL team, has never started a regular-season game in the league.

That is about to change.

O'Sullivan was picked to start San Francisco's preseason opener Aug. 8 against Oakland and has been practicing and playing with the first unit since. He didn't take any snaps in 11-on-11 team drills during the first seven days of training camp as Smith and Hill got all the work.

But both players struggled to grasp new offensive coordinator Mike Martz's complex system, and O'Sullivan was given a chance in the lead role earlier this month.

O'Sullivan worked in Martz's system last year when both were with the Detroit Lions. He played in four games with the Lions last season and threw the first regular-season passes of his NFL career.

He moved the offense during San Francisco's first two preseason games and then had a stellar performance during Thursday's win in Chicago. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 126 yards and guided San Francisco on scoring drives each of his three series.

O'Sullivan left the game during the first minute of the second quarter after completing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill that gave San Francisco a 13-10 lead.

“This hasn't been a case of Alex and Shaun not performing well,” Nolan said. “This has been a case of J.T. performing very well. That's why we are where we are. J.T. has very good command of the offense, he's played well in all three preseason games, and now it's time for us to get ready for the regular season.”

NFLSan Francisco 49erssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Harlan Kelly, head of the SFPUC and husband to City Administrator Naomi Kelly (right), faces federal charges for allegedly trading inside information on a city contract in return for a paid family vacation. (Courtesy photo)
Harlan Kelly, head of SFPUC, charged with fraud in widening Nuru scandal

Kelly accused of engaging in corrupt partnership with permit expediter

Jeff Tumlin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said the agency’s fiscal situation is “far worse” than the worse case scenarios projected back in April. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA prepares for massive potential layoffs as budget crisis continues to build

More than 1,200 full-time jobs on the line as agency struggles to close deficit

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is weighing further restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise. (Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom considering new shelter-in-place order as COVID-19 cases rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday warned that he may need to reinstate… Continue reading

Nicole Canedo looks at her City-issued Medical Reimbursement Account page on her computer outside her Berkeley apartment on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Canedo has worked numerous retail jobs in The City and the MRA has helped her with health costs. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Millions left sitting in medical reimbursement accounts by city workers

Health officials looking at how to improve access, outreach as untapped funds reach $409M

Andrew Faulk wrote "My Epidemic." (Courtesy photo)
Doctor’s memoir a fitting remembrance for World AIDS Day

‘My Epidemic’ tells personal stories of men who died

Most Read