Former 49ers safety compares Brock Purdy to Tom Brady

Tom Brady hasn’t yet retired, but that isn’t stopping members of the football community from already looking for the next version of the all-time great quarterback. 

« Brock Purdy is the second coming of Tom Brady, » former San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner said of the rookie signal-caller for an NBC Sports Bay Area segment, as shared by Reice Shipley of The Comeback. « If Brock Purdy takes the 49ers to the championship and brings the Lombardi Trophy back to the Bay Area, I think we can go ahead and crown him the 49ers starter for the next decade. Think back to when Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe. Now it is going to be Brock Purdy replacing the No. 3 pick. But that is all predicated on the next two ball games. » 

Whitner featured for the 49ers from 2011 through the 2013 season and earned a Pro Bowl nod during his San Francisco tenure. The 37-year-old offered his take the same day that retired punter and current media personality Pat McAfee said that Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals « is the second coming of Tom Brady. » 

There’s plenty to unpack here. Burrow was the first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft and essentially immediately labeled a franchise savior. Brady famously was selection No. 199 in 2000, and Purdy was « Mr. Irrelevant » and the last choice of the 2022 draft. 

While Purdy has become a first-year sensation and deserves credit for winning his first seven starts, the fact remains he’s only atop the depth chart today because Trey Lance went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 and because Jimmy Garoppolo has been sidelined with a broken foot since Dec. 4. Like Brady roughly 20 years ago, Purdy was an afterthought until issues beyond his control forced him into action. 

Purdy’s next opportunity to grow his legend will arrive when the 49ers play at the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday. Per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, the 23-year-old is on track to become just the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference championship game.

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