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Arik Armstead: 49ers QB Brock Purdy has ‘that gunslinger mentality’

May 19, 2023 at 11:19 AM


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Brock Purdy came out of nowhere, taking the entire NFL by surprise while helping the San Francisco 49ers rattle off eight consecutive wins on the way to the NFC Championship Game. The rookie was phenomenal in his first NFL season, stepping into action in Week 13 after the team lost quarterbacks Trey Lance (in Week 2) and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries.

Purdy suffered his own injury in that NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. But before that, the young quarterback proved to everyone that he could play in the NFL.

"I think you can look at his first game that he played, just stepping right in and really looking unfazed and really comfortable out there," defensive lineman Arik Armstead told Jim Rome on Friday. "Brock has a certain presence about himself that gives you confidence. He just has that gunslinger mentality, able to make plays off-script.

"And he's an excellent player and really was a catalyst for making that run and getting [us] to the NFC Championship. He took the league by storm last year."

Purdy could miss the entire offseason as he recovers from his surgery on March 10. That leaves Trey Lance and new addition Sam Darnold competing to start Week 1 should Purdy's elbow not heal in time.

Lance is coming off a season-ending ankle injury but is completely healthy as the 49ers prepare to start organized team activities (OTAs) next week.

While Purdy was the last overall pick in last year's draft, Lance and Darnold were No. 3 overall picks. Yet, all things being equal, Purdy would be the "leader in the clubhouse" to start Week 1. However, the injury created a more complicated situation for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Which quarterback will be on the football field when the 49ers face the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road on September 10?

"I think we have three excellent quarterbacks," Armstead responded. "They're young, and I think they all are extremely talented. And one thing I've learned in this league is you never know what's going to happen. You can plan for things and try to script it ... but as you can tell last year, you never know what's going to happen.

"I know we have a talented bunch in the quarterback room, they go out there and compete, and I'm excited to see how all that shakes out. Health is the number one thing, so I want those guys to take [their] time. They're both (Lance and Purdy) dealing with significant injuries [so] take time to get healthy and get back to feeling like themselves. I think it's going to shake itself out once we start playing football."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Armstead below.

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