Brock Purdy may play football like a veteran, but he’s only 23 years old and has just completed his second career training camp. He’s still learning important lessons about life in the NFL.
The 49ers’ Friday transfer of quarterback Trey Lance to the Dallas Cowboys was another glimpse into the league’s grim business world. Selected No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lance should be the answer under middle in the franchise for the next decade and beyond, only to play four games in two years and be sent out of town.
It didn’t work out for Lance in the Bay. NFL teams don’t exactly exercise patience.
“It just tells you that you’re in the NFL, the positions and how everything looks, the depth chart, everything can change overnight, obviously depending on what’s happening, situations and stuff,” Purdy said Friday night after the preseason finale of the 49ers against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“But for me it is the question: How can I be present? How can I be where I am? [on the depth chart], whatever.’ The more you think about such things, the more it can engage you and affect the way you play.”
Purdy has taken every shot since being selected as a final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He so impressed the 49ers’ front office last summer that he surprisingly pulled the 53-man roster out of training camp. Two injuries later, Purdy led the 49ers to eight straight wins and one NFC Championship Game appearance.
“Ultimately, I’m just trying to do my job, to do what I’m told as a quarterback,” Purdy said Friday. “It’s not like I’m coming in here and going, alright, I’ll do it.” Try to beat this guy, this guy. It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with what I was called to do in my life as a quarterback.
“I’m going to come in, do my job and some situations happen. It sucks, like Jimmy.” [Garoppolo] got hurt, Trey got hurt, and things like that happen. But at the same time, the NFL is like that. And therefore no hard feelings. I love Trey and I only want the best for him.”
It’s Purdy’s level-headed approach that has won the trust of general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. He was surprised when the 49ers traded Lance on Friday night, but took the news calmly and spent a moment with his former teammate in the locker room ahead of the pre-season game.
A few hours later, Purdy led San Francisco’s offense for two drives, throwing 73 yards on 5 of 9 passes. The 49ers should have scored on the first drive, but running back JP Mason fumbled in the end zone. On the second drive, Purdy took matters into his own hands, marching over the goal line for a five-yard scramble.
The NFL train just keeps chugging on. You better hold on.
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