49ers’ John Lynch admits team had interest in signing Tom Brady amid Brock Purdy’s injury recovery


Several months ago, numerous rumors swirled around the notion that the San Francisco 49ers were interested in luring Tom Brady out of retirement. At the time, the Niners starting quarterback, Brock Purdy, was recovering from a procedure to repair an elbow injury.

Purdy, the last selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, tore the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Reports later surfaced claiming Niners coach Kyle Shanahan informed Purdy that the team planned to pursue Brady for the 2023 season.

Purdy recently discussed his exchange with his head coach saying, “I remember him (Shanahan) saying, ‘If we can get Tom Brady, we’re going to try to get him. And I was like, ‘Yeah, he’s the GOAT. I get it.'”

49ers general manager John Lynch then addressed the speculation surrounding Brady amid Purdy’s recovery during a recent appearance on “The Eye Test for Two” podcast.

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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Oct. 16, 2022. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

“So when it first happened, we’re really searching, like, ‘What are we going to do at quarterback? We don’t know if we’re going to have Brock back,'” Lynch said. “Trey [Lance] had been hurt as well. He kind of [suffered] a vicious ankle injury, and that didn’t look really good. So we had to look at all our options.”

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Lynch then suggested that Brady would have handled the starting quarterback duties this season if he ended up on the 49ers roster.

“And I think Kyle and Brock really have honest conversations. At some point, he said, ‘Look, I guess the one way you’re not a starter if you’re healthy is if we go get someone like Brady.’ And I presume that’s what happened, but anytime you mention something like that, it’s obviously going to make quite a story.”

Brock Purdy talks with Tom Brady

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers talks with Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a game at Levi’s Stadium Dec. 11, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Lynch made it clear that the organization always maintained a level of confidence Purdy, and looking into other options was merely an attempt to create some certainty at the quarterback position as the former Iowa State football standout worked his way back from his serious injury.

“It was, I think, more of a sign of belief in him that, ‘Hey, you took us [far] in your rookie year. We believe that you’re our guy. As you’re healing up, just understand we may have to go secure some other options.’ I think then we started tracking his progress, and he was beating every timeline throughout that, as a credit to his healing ability, the genes that he was blessed with,” Lynch explained. “But probably more importantly, the work ethic and the vigor with which he attacked his rehab allowed him to beat all the timelines and be ready right when our season started.

Tom Brady runs onto the field

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs onto the field before the team’s game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Dec. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Despite all the talk about Brady potentially taking his spot, Purdy managed to help lift the Niners to an NFC title this season. He finished the regular season with 4,280 passing yards and 31 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

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Purdy will look to further silence any doubters when the 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

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