Brock Purdy NFL Story

Purdy reveals 49ers wanted Brady as starting QB this season

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Brock Purdy has led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.

But things could have looked very different for the second-year pro entering the 2023 NFL season, as Purdy revealed the starting quarterback role wasn't always a lock despite his impressive rookie showing.

After undergoing offseason surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right throwing elbow and rehabbing all summer, Purdy was told the starting gig would be his in 2023 -- with one exception. If the 49ers could bring seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady back home to the Bay to play for the team he grew up rooting for, coach Kyle Shanahan told Purdy they would start Brady over him in 2023.

While Purdy understood, given the fact that it's Tom Brady, he felt a little disappointed by the news -- but motivated nonetheless.

"That meant so much to me," Purdy told ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "I remember [Shanahan] saying if we can get Tom Brady, we're going to try to get him. And I was like, 'Yeah, he's the GOAT. I get it.' But something deep down inside me was sort of like, 'Dude, I just showed you that I can play well in this system. And we were one game away from the Super Bowl.' … More than anything, I was like, 'OK, now let's go.' "

Being doubted and pushed to the bottom isn't new to Purdy, though, as he sunk to the final round of the 2022 NFL Draft and was chosen by San Francisco with the very last pick.

He went from San Francisco's third-string rookie quarterback to the starter of a playoff team after injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. And within just a matter of weeks, Mr. Irrelevant was anything but.

The Brady news isn't entirely a surprise, though, as the 49ers have been connected to the three-time MVP in the past. The San Mateo native announced his (second) retirement from the NFL last February, but fans weren't fully convinced he was hanging up the cleats for good.

A return to the game he loved in the city less than 30 miles away from his hometown of San Mateo, Calif., seemed like the perfect way to end his treasured NFL career, but the fairytale ending was one only the 49ers Faithful could dream of as Brady officially ended his playing career.

But the Faithful don't have much to be sad about, as Purdy has stepped in nicely, to say the least.

In 16 starts this season, sitting out only the regular-season finale after the 49ers clinched the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed, Purdy finished first in several metrics in the league, including yards per attempt (9.6), yards per dropback (8.8), yards per completion (13.9) and expected points added per dropback (0.26).

Of course, Purdy isn't Brady. But just like Brady's story, it's not about how you got there, it's about what you do when the opportunity arrives. And that story still is being written for Purdy.

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