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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady ‘not opposed’ to NFL return with a playoff-bound team like the 49ers

Apr 11, 2024 at 10:01 PM

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Just when you thought the San Francisco 49ers and Tom Brady storylines had concluded, the future Hall of Fame quarterback drops another tidbit that sparks discussion. During an episode of "DeepCut with VicBlends," the host asked Brady what he would do if the NFL came calling once again.

VicBlends inquired if Brady would consider returning to the football field if a playoff-bound team like the 49ers needed him.

"I'm not opposed to it," Brady said, per Jordan Mendoza of USA Today. "I don't know if they're gonna let me if I become an owner an NFL team. I don't know, I'm always gonna be in good shape, always be able to throw the ball."

Brady is on track to become a minority owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, one of the teams the quarterback mentioned as potential comeback options. The other was the New England Patriots.

Realistically, of the three teams mentioned, the 49ers are the most likely to be positioned for a deep playoff run. With a loaded roster and coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the 49ers are among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl next year. Meanwhile, the Raiders and Patriots' odds rank toward the bottom of the NFL.

Brady compared a potential comeback to Michael Jordan's NBA return with the Washington Wizards, saying, "To come in for a little bit, like MJ coming back, I don't know if they would let me. But I wouldn't be opposed to it."

Following a previous Super Bowl appearance and defeat, the 49ers had their chance to acquire Brady in 2020. The team opted to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won his seventh championship.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan even attempted to make amends for that misstep by trying to coax Brady out of retirement ahead of last season, as quarterback Brock Purdy was recovering from offseason surgery on his throwing arm.

"At that time, there was some uncertainty with when I was going to be back and everything," Purdy said of that conversation with his coach. "And I know that they didn't look at what I did the year before as nothing. I know that. We had talked, and they totally respected the way I came in and handled business.

"And so, for me, though, there was that little chip on my shoulder. It was, 'All right, if he does come, [I'll] obviously compete, but he is the GOAT. You've got to learn from him, if that's the case. But the competitive side of it was, 'Hey, man, we were just one game away from the Super Bowl. I just got hurt. I can be the guy for this team.'"

While the 49ers were optimistic about Purdy's recovery, they didn't want to waste an opportunity, knowing they had a highly competitive roster.

"Yes, I was serious about it," Shanahan stated in February. "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."

Shanahan added that pursuing Brady would not have crossed his mind if Purdy had never gotten hurt. However, so many questions surrounded the recovering quarterback headed into the 2023 season.

"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."

Purdy ended up being ready for training camp and was on the field with his teammates for Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The then-second-year quarterback set a single-season franchise record with 4,280 passing yards and guided the team to the brink of a championship, falling just short in an overtime battle with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Brady will be 47 years old when the 2024 NFL season kicks off.

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