Tom Brady

Shanahan confirms talk with Purdy about 49ers' Brady pursuit

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Brock Purdy and Tom Brady have two very different outlooks on the 49ers' pursuit of the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed to NBC Sports' Peter King that he did tell Purdy he would be San Francisco's starter for the 2023 NFL season only if the team couldn't lure Brady back home to the Bay to end his legendary career.

“I’m glad you asked me that question,” Shanahan told King. “Yes, I was serious about it. As we talked, I’m looking at Brock, and he’s got his arm in a sling, and I really am not sure I’ve got a quarterback who’s going to be ready for the start of the 2023 season.

"That started all of this.”

Purdy underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right throwing elbow that he sustained in San Francisco's gut-wrenching NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last January.

After taking over under center for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, all signs led to Purdy being the guy for the 2023 season. While that was true -- there was one exception.

Despite the news of his starting job potentially in jeopardy, Purdy used the conversation he had with Shanahan as motivation.

"That meant so much to me," Purdy told ESPN's Nick Wagoner earlier this month. "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.' "

To Shanahan, lighting that fire under Purdy was intentional.

“I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan said. “I let him know he’s our guy long-term. No question. And if Tom Brady wanted to come here and start for one year, that’s the only way you’re not starting when you’re healthy this year. That’s pretty cool. I wanted to assure him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re our guy. But how cool would it be if Tom Brady would be the quarterback here for one season? How cool would it be for you to learn from him?’

“I mean, if Brock never got hurt, this wouldn’t have been a consideration at all. I’d never have brought it up. But I’ve got to think about the team. What if he’s not ready in September?”

Brady, too, was asked about the possible union with the team he grew up rooting for, but he denied deflected and downplayed the reality of it all.

"I think in football, whether you're a free agent ... I've heard so many draft stories from when I was drafted," Brady said on ESPN's "Pat McAfee Show last week. " 'Oh, I was a scout for the [Green Bay] Packers at the time,' or 'Oh, I was a scout for the [Indianapolis] Colts at the time and had we taken you ...' You can look at everything in football and say, 'What if?' But the reality is I deal with what happened and the decisions that were made, whether it was free agency for me, whether it was signing contracts with the [New England] Patriots.

"In this last offseason there's a lot of different things people would suggest, but I kind of just kept my mind focused on where I wanted to go and this was a great year for me to sit back and watch and learn and get prepared for being in the FOX booth next year."

In the end, it seems things worked out for all parties involved.

Brady said no. The 49ers signed Sam Darnold. Purdy officially was named the starter. And, well, the rest is history.

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