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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk: 49ers QB Brock Purdy proved he belongs, setback will fuel him

Feb 5, 2023 at 10:30 AM--

Brock Purdy proved a lot during his rookie NFL season. He clearly belongs in the league. The San Francisco 49ers lost two starting quarterbacks this season. Purdy, once QB3, stepped in, and the team didn't skip a beat.

San Francisco won 12 consecutive games entering the NFC Championship Game. Purdy was under center for eight of those games, helming the offense since Jimmy Garoppolo exited a Week 13 matchup against the Miami Dolphins with a broken foot.

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk admits he didn't know what to think after Purdy replaced Garoppolo. Could the 49ers push forward with yet another quarterback change?

Then Purdy and the 49ers handily beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14, and the receiver knew they would be fine.

The 49ers entered the NFC Championship Game with confidence, knowing they were talented enough to knock off the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. They never had an opportunity to prove that, though. Purdy suffered a UCL tear and is expected to miss six months of the offseason.

If Purdy is the starter in 2023, Aiyuk believes the 23-year-old quarterback will be even better.

"Yeah, the injury, that sucks, but I just felt like, the type of guy that he is, I think you only have two options," Aiyuk told Brad Graham of TheSFNiners. "It makes you or breaks you. And from what I've seen from him, it don't look like much breaks him. So I hope he has a great offseason, he gets the rehab that he needs, he gets the recovery that he needs, and he gets to show who Brock Purdy is."

From the moment Purdy stepped on the field, the quarterback has shown the poise and leadership of a seasoned veteran. It was easy to forget that he was playing his first handful of NFL games.

"And I think, for me, the thing is, that was rookie Brock Purdy," Aiyuk continued. "That was halfway-into-the-season, hand-over-the-keys Brock Purdy."

Purdy hopes to be ready for the start of the 2023 season. He's weighing his options, but the 49ers still expect the quarterback only to have to undergo six months of recovery.

"I think the positive bit of news is that it seems to be consistent that the right approach is that one that takes about that six-month mark," general manager John Lynch said last week. "Now, everybody will also say you never know until you get in there. Every surgeon will tell you that on every surgery. You always like getting in to see exactly—the MRI tells you a lot of the picture.

"So they're continuing to work through that process, but we seem encouraged by the prognosis that that's kind of where it's at."

Purdy proved himself tough enough to play quarterback in the NFL and flourish doing so. Aiyuk has no doubt the quarterback is tough enough to overcome this setback.

"So we weren't sure what that was going to look like going into this offseason," Aiyuk said, "but one thing that he does know for sure is that he can play at this level, and he could be a top quarterback in this league, so I don't think it'll do anything but fuel him. So I'm excited to see what he does in the rest of his career."


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