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49ers were ‘serious’ about pursuing Tom Brady following Brock Purdy injury, coach says

Brock Purdy has gone from last pick in the NFL draft to the future of the San Francisco 49ers as they now prepare to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl this weekend in what is Purdy’s first full year as starting quarterback. 

But after suffering a devastating injury to his throwing arm in last year’s NFC Championship game, there was a period of time when the Niners were forced to look outside. 

Head coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC’s Peter King in a story published Monday that the Niners were “serious” about their pursuit of seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

“Yes, I was serious about it,” Shanahan told King. 

“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, who was the third-string quarterback heading into the 2022 season, led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game in thrilling fashion, but his hot streak came to a devastating end when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in the first quarter of their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brock Purdy hit from behind

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This coupled with Trey Lance, who was still recovering from a season-ending ankle injury, led to uncertainty in the quarterback room — and eventually Brady. 

“I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan told King of Purdy.. 

“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?’”

Purdy seemingly took the news well, according to ESPN. 

Brock Purdy talks with Tom Brady

“I remember him 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,'” Purdy recalled. 

But it all worked out in the end. According to King, Brady said no, and Purdy was healthy enough to start this season. 

Purdy will have the chance to prove himself further when San Francisco and the defending Super Bowl champions face off in Las Vegas on Sunday night. 

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