San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed he wanted to start quarterback Tom Brady over Brock Purdy ahead of the 2023 season.
“Yes, I was serious about it,” Shanahan said about the Brady story while speaking with NBC Sports’ Peter King. “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. That started all of this.”
It was reported in January that Shanahan wanted to sign Brady as a free agent when Purdy was recovering from the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that he suffered during last year’s NFC Championship Game.
Brady, a San Mateo native who grew up a San Francisco fan, reportedly wanted to join the 49ers following the 2019 season before he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he retired “for good” in February 2023 and is now on track to become Fox’s lead NFL analyst next season.
“I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan told King. “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. That’s pretty cool. I wanted to assure him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re our guy. But how cool would it be if Tom Brady would be the quarterback here for one season? How cool would it be for you to learn from him?’ I mean, if Brock never got hurt, this wouldn’t have been a consideration at all. I’d never have brought it up. But I’ve got to think about the team. What if he’s not ready in September?”
Purdy ultimately was cleared to resume football activities ahead of Week 1 of this season, and he emerged as a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate who helped his club earn a Super Bowl LVIII showdown versus the Kansas City Chiefs. As of late Monday morning, DraftKings Sportsbook listed the 49ers as two-point favorites for this Sunday’s game.
One can only wonder what that line would look like if Brady was serving as San Francisco’s QB1.