Report: 49ers QB Brock Purdy likely starter Week 1 if fully cleared

Jun 6, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: 8:56 am

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quart...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 11: Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Despite not being medically cleared to practice this offseason, quarterback Brock Purdy is still expected to be QB1 at the start of the 2023 season.

The San Francisco 49ers gunslinger has been on the mend from offseason elbow surgery after suffering a torn UCL in the NFC Championship game. Now three months removed from surgery, Purdy has begun a throwing program to rebuild strength his throwing arm. And the results thus far have been extremely encouraging.

“We think Brock probably is the leader in the clubhouse, as we said, but it will be open for competition, and it’s those guys’ opportunity to go in [and] earn that job,” 49ers’ general manager John Lynch said last week on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

San Francisco has had a history of injuries at the QB position over the last few seasons. To negate those concerns, the team went out and signed veteran Sam Darnold to help compete with prospect Trey Lance in the offseason. But while both QBs have had positive throwing sessions, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco still feels that Purdy is firmly in the driver’s seat for 2023.

Realistically, if Purdy is ready to play football when the season rolls around, it will be his job.

If his road to a full recovery stays true to the 12-week timeframe, he would receive full medical clearance to play football around Aug. 21 — or 20 days before the start of the 2023 NFL season.

Whether the actual timeline holds true remains to be seen, as San Francisco knows how tricky UCL injuries can be for quarterbacks. Former 49er Nick Mullins is one of a select few football players to undergo the procedure in 2021, never quite reaching the form he previously had with the team. Because of this, the Red & Gold will remain cautiously optimistic with Brock Purdy.

“We feel good about that position holistically,” Lynch added. “We are not going to put Brock in a situation where he’s not fully healed. That means not just get back, but get back and get in reps under your belt.”

San Francisco and Purdy alike won’t rush his recovery, the early returns are enough to give the team hope for repeat performances in his sophomore season. While 49ers’ brass will maintain a QB competition over the summer, Purdy will remain the frontrunner based off his play last season.

“We know what we have [in Purdy],” coach Kyle Shanahan said last month. “I truly believe in my heart what Trey can be. It still takes time, and you’ve got to go do it. In the meantime, we have a guy sitting here who already has done it. That’s a very good thing for the Niners.”

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