49ers’ Brock Purdy Sounds off on ‘Longest Year of My Life’

Last week, Brock Purdy gathered at the Dwight Clark Legacy Series at the California Theatre in San Jose, and listened to some legendary tales from rather prominent members of the 49ers quarterback pantheon—Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia and Alex Smith. It might have been easy, at that point, for Purdy to remember that he was now part of that pantheon.

But when it came time to talk about the present-day 49ers, Purdy was the focus. “With this man leading the pack, we’re going to compete in every single game,” Garcia said, via the Mercury-News.

Of course, it did not quite look like things were destined to head this way for Purdy. We are just two years removed from Purdy earning the “Mr. Irrelevant” honors as the last player selected in the 2022 NFL draft, after all.

Seated with his cohorts, Purdy unraveled some of his story.

“My rookie year, I feel like there was so many different stages,” Purdy said, via 49ers WebZone. “There was, you get drafted last, you’re trying to come in, make an impression to the coaches, trying to make the team.

“It felt like a whole other season, so it was just from one stage to the next,” Purdy continued. “It was probably the longest year of my life, to be honest.”

49ers Took a Gamble in 2022

To start with, Purdy was simply trying to make the team, with a competition ahead of him between second-year former No. 3 pick Trey Lance and veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. Not much is generally expected out of seventh-round quarterbacks, though coach Kyle Shanahan had already taken notice of him.

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“He knows how to play the position well. He’s got a ton of reps. You’re not looking on what you can develop him into, you’re looking at, this guy knows how to play the position, let’s see how he can do it at this level,” Shanahan said at the time.

And then the fairy tale happened. Lance got hurt. Garoppolo got hurt. And by Week 13, Purdy was the starter, leading the 49ers to 5-0 record to close the year in the role.

“It was a great year, just in terms of learning all the different roles: Trying to make the team. How can I be a great backup and serve Jimmy and Trey? To then getting thrown in and having to win and start,” Purdy said.

“And so I learned all three different stages in under six months. So a crazy year, but was thankful to learn a lot of things from that. And I think it set up my second year in the league.”

Brock Purdy Was an MVP Candidate in 2023

Of course, it was in that second year, in 2023, that Purdy established himself—despite significant continued skepticism—as one of the best in the league and an MVP candidate.

Purdy set a franchise record for passing yards with 4,280 and threw 31 touchdowns last year, making him the first 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia in 2001 to surpass 30 TDs in one year.

Purdy led the NFL in quarterback rating (113.0), QBR (72.8), yards per reception (13.9) and touchdown percentage (7.0%).

He was by far the most efficient quarterback in the NFL last season, and had proven himself worthy of the 49ers quarterback mantle. And that was a thought he has just been finally getting his head around.

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“I think going into my second year is when the thoughts of, man, I’m starting for the San Francisco 49ers,” Purdy remarked. “And then you got the standard that Joe [Montana] and Steve [Young] set, and all these guys up here (Young, Alex Smith, and Jeff Garcia were on stage with Purdy), and I think that’s when those thoughts start rolling in of, okay, there’s a standard here, and I have to live up to that standard.”

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