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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Brock Purdy reflects on NFCCG, first start, surgery recovery, family’s Tom Brady plans

May 17, 2024 at 6:00 AM

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On Thursday night, Brock Purdy joined several former San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks at the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event in San Jose. During the event, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, one of the moderators, asked the 24-year-old to rewind a couple of years and reflect on how he burst onto the NFL scene in 2022.

Purdy's first significant playing time came when the 49ers lost two quarterbacks that season—first Trey Lance and then Jimmy Garoppolo. Purdy stepped in for Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins, unaware that he would be the starter moving forward.

"Jimmy went down, and they're like, 'All right, you're up,'" Purdy shared. "So I'm in tune to what we're doing against Miami's defense and stuff on the sidelines. And so, when they said that I was in, I was like, 'All right, let's go.' I had already warmed up. All those weeks leading up to it, I obviously prepared as if I was going to play. And so, when they said I was going in, it was, 'All right, let's go.'

"I got in. I think my first completion was a third down to [RB] Christian [McCaffrey]. And after I got that completion, I was like, 'All right, this is football. It's 11 on 11. It's what I've been doing my whole life.'"

After learning that Garoppolo was likely done for the season, Purdy prepared for his first start. It would be a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. As you can imagine, it made for some intriguing storylines and discussions during the week leading up to the game.

Purdy heard the chatter: "We're down to our third quarterback, and does this guy have what it takes? All those things, the questions. The next thing you know, you've got Tom Brady rolling in town, and my family—I mean, you guys have probably all heard the story—they already booked their tickets before the season even started to come to this game to watch Tom."

After that comment drew significant laughter from the crowd, Purdy continued, "So, anyways, yeah, all of that put together, I was like, 'Man, this is it.' For me, in the back of my mind, like, I get one opportunity here. Let's see what we can do with it.

"Was I playing against Tom Brady and all that kind of thing? Yes, his team, but it was the Bucs' defense. That's what I was going up against, and that's where my mindset was once the game started. And then obviously we rolled, and we didn't look back."

Purdy and the 49ers won both games, and each that followed before reaching the NFC Championship Game. They followed up their impressive 2022 campaign with a Super Bowl appearance last season.

Purdy is entering his third NFL season and hopes his 2024 campaign ends with a championship added to an already impressive resume.

Surgery Recovery

While the 49ers reached the NFC Championship Game during Purdy's rookie season, the quarterback suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in that contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, ending the team's Super Bowl hopes.

Purdy discussed his mentality after undergoing surgery and the many months of recovery that followed.

"I think, first off, it sounds cheesy, but I was where I was at," Purdy shared. "Just wherever my feet are at, that's where I'm at. My arm torn, boom, surgery. So I showed up to rehab every day, and it was that. How can I rehab the best every day for however many hours, day in and day out?

"And then not comparing myself to anybody else. There's a lot of buzz going on. Dude, are you gonna get back [for the start of] the season? We're bringing in some quarterbacks that have played before. It's easy to get caught up in the world of, oh, my gosh, like, doubt. Am I going to make it? And so, I didn't want to compare myself to anybody else. I was where I was at, and I really did trust that it was going to work out how it needed to.

"I'm a faithful man, so I believe that it was going to work out, but I didn't try to jump to conclusions, see the future, anything like that. If I did that, I probably would have been a big mental head case of, 'Am I going to make it back or not? I'm freaking out about things that are out of my control.'

"And so, for me, I still hammered away at the playbook, watched the games that I played. How can I get better, get back to the facility, get around the guys, continue to build on those relationships? All those little things, I feel like, added up."

NFC Championship Game Comeback vs. Lions

Last season, the path to the Super Bowl involved Purdy helping mount two impressive postseason comebacks. The second came against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers trailed by 17 points at halftime but overcame adversity to win 34-31.

"All I remember, it was just, 'All right, one play at a time, from here on out,'" Purdy commented. "And everyone believed it. We had, obviously, the guys to do it. But I remember the first play of the second half, threw it to [WR] Deebo [Samuel] on a 20-yard in-route. And from that moment, I was, 'Okay, this is us. We got to play like us.'

"And, long story short, scored touchdowns to come back, defense balled out, got some crucial stops. And then I remember there was one drive towards the end, I scrambled for first down, got the first, and then after that, Christian punched it in or had a good run in. And then I think Elijah Mitchell punched it in. But right then and there, I was like, 'Dude, this is team football.' It's not just one guy putting the whole team on his back.

"It takes everybody, everybody in the organization. And in that moment, I was like, 'This is not easy. Like, this is tough.' The NFL is tough to get to the Super Bowl, to do all those things that you want to do. There's going to be those crazy, nasty wins. And so that's what comes to mind, is how tough it is. But, man, is it worth it."

Scoring 70 Against Ricky Pearsall's Team in High School

Upon speaking to the media for the first time after being drafted by the 49ers, wide receiver Ricky Pearsall shared the memory of once facing Purdy in high school.

"Yeah, I guess I'll be the first to admit it. We played each other," Pearsall said the night he was drafted. "I think he put 70 on my team. So, he is a hell of a player. I remember him for sure because he was in the end zone a lot and threw a lot of touchdowns. So, I'm excited to play with him this time."

Purdy had the opportunity to confirm that his team did indeed put up that many points against Pearsall's high school squad. Here's what the 49ers quarterback said:

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