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Only 1 player was stopping Brock Purdy from starting for 49ers this season

The 49ers’ plan at quarterback for 2023 was always going to be Brock Purdy once he was fully recovered from offseason elbow surgery. That’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan told Purdy, but there was one exception according to reporting from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner.

While Purdy was in camp conceivably battling for the starting job with Sam Darnold and Trey Lance, there was never real competition for that gig. Darnold and Lance were duking it out for the QB2 job while Purdy just readied himself to be the starter.

Shanahan told Purdy he’d be the starter, and that his only competition was a retired future Hall of Famer.

Purdy relayed this story via Wagoner:

“That meant so much to me,” Purdy said. “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.'”

The Brady comeback with his childhood team that was so often talked about any time the seven-time Super Bowl champion might have been available never came to fruition. He remained retired, and Purdy remained San Francisco’s starter.

It’s not necessarily breaking news that Purdy was told the starting job was his. He was too impressive in his brief stint as the starter in 2022 to move to a reserve role, and neither Lance nor Darnold (nor Brandon Allen) shined enough to unseat him in camp.

Moving forward with Purdy turned out to be the right decision. Perhaps Brady would’ve been even better for the 49ers this season, but Purdy has put together one of the most productive QB seasons in 49ers history and he has his team two games away from the Super Bowl. The Brady thing may have been very real this offseason, but now Purdy has turned it into a distant memory.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire