Santa Clara— A week into summer 2022 training camp, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan addressed CEO Jed York. “He grabs me after practice and says, ‘We got to talk,’” York recalled Thursday. “That's usually bad when your coach says, ‘We got to talk.’” Shanahan's speech to York anticipated one of the greatest NFL stories: the last choice in the 2022 NFL Draft becoming a Super Bowl champion less than two years later.
I think our third-string quarterback is our best quarterback,” Shanahan said York, alluding to unknown former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy was an NFL MVP contender in his second season and helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But when York heard Purdy had enormous promise, he was surprised. After Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld, Purdy was third on the 49ers' depth chart. Later, the 49ers re-signed Jimmy Garoppolo. Purdy went into the season as the third quarterback after Sudfeld was dismissed.
The 49ers invested much in quarterbacks before Purdy. Lance was selected third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft when they moved up. Garoppolo, who was earning $27.5 million, took a $7 million reduction to start the season as Lance's backup.
York wasn't sure what to make of Shanahan's Purdy's announcement that day. York said owners don't like hearing that the final choice in the draft is the greatest player they've invested in. Usually bad news, but he's honest.” Shanahan promised York that he would not move Purdy to the top of the depth chart. He thought Purdy would be the team's long-term quarterback.
Obviously, we invested in Trey and Trey (was) doing a good job, we're going to do everything we can and we're not going to change that,” York said of Shanahan's statement that day. “We won't change the depth chart, but I think Brock will be our quarterback.” Lance's Week 2 injury forced Garoppolo back into the starting lineup. Purdy became No. 2. Purdy's first action was mopping up in Week 7's 44-23 win against Kansas City.
Brock threw one ball into the stands, and I may or may not have had some sarcastic comments for Kyle postgame,” York chuckled. Purdy took over for good in Week 13 following Garoppolo's season-ending injury and quickly proved Shanahan's remarks to York were prescient.
York: “But when Brock took over, we had a calm about it. The feeling was that nothing surprises you. Kyle's advice may not be to your taste, but he's always honest. York admires Shanahan's candor. Shanahan is also flexible enough to adjust his mind as events unfold.
He's upfront with me: ‘I will tell you precisely what I think of a player, a scenario, a coach in the moment.’” Evidently, Shanahan still likes Purdy. It has grown since he entered the field.
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