SAN FRANCISCO – Even at 64, Ronnie Lott still has an aura of intimidation around him. Lott is exactly twice his age and for a split second Thursday night at the Curran Theater before “Unscripted: The San Francisco 49ers” on San Francisco Broadway, where the Hall of Fame safety joined fellow legends Steve Young, Brent Jones, Dwight Hicks and Harris Barton. In a conversation hosted by Olympic gold medalist Christy Yamaguchi, she felt the same fear that receivers running over quarterbacks felt.
the question: What’s your message to anyone who still doubts Brooke Purdy?
Lott responded: A look that might have been an invitation to pain, followed by a smile that stopped my sweat and made Lott laugh at anyone who doubted the 49ers’ young quarterback.
“I have to laugh, because obviously when you play against certain people, you watch certain people and you watch what they do, you understand the timing it takes to put the ball where you want it to go,” Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area. “To put the ball. And for me, I think that The interesting thing is that I never see it as too late.
Purdy, in his first game as a starter last season, completed a 20-yard pass to wide receiver Ray Ray McCloud on his first pass of the fourth quarter of a 44-23 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but was intercepted on his final throw of the game. Over his next nine games — six in the regular season and three in the playoffs — the rookie was intercepted just three times. He also threw 16 touchdowns in that span.
The second-year pro has thrown 91 pass attempts through the 49ers’ first three games this season and has yet to have an interception, making him one of five NFL starters who have yet to have an interception in 2023.
Whether it was opposing players or the national media, the outside side began to view Purdy as a top-tier quarterback. Question marks remain as well. Some may view it as a QB lucky to play under Kyle Shanahan in an offense loaded with star power. Others may wonder about his size and durability limitations or debate whether Purdy has enough elite traits to achieve the 49ers’ goal of finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for a sixth time.
But Lott has a unique perspective and history when it comes to Purdy.
Lott was part of the College Football Playoff selection committee for Purdy’s first three seasons at Iowa State. While Purdy was busy throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore, Lott watched from afar and studied tape. Long before Purdy earned the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant,” Lott knew all about the five touchdowns he threw in an epic classic against Jalen Hurts and the University of Oklahoma in 2019 along with many other performances in his four-year career.
“When he was at Iowa State I was on the committee,” Lott said. “I had to watch a lot of college football. So for three years of watching and knowing, yeah, there are some things you can see about his characteristics and who he is, and more importantly, what I hope is that he gets a championship ring.
Lott was a four-time Super Bowl champion during the 49ers’ dynasty. Brent Jones was a young 49-year-old on the receiving end of two of those titles and shares a similar assessment of Purdy to his former teammate. But he took it a step further.
Jones went there. And by “there” I mean the three-time Super Bowl winner and eventual four-time Pro Bowl pick sees Joe Montana at current QB for the 49ers.
“I think Brock is a great agent, and it’s really hard for people to appreciate that,” Jones said. “He’s just a young kid and he hasn’t had a lot of experience on the football field with all the lights, the playoff team, the team that should be in the Super Bowl this year and the way That he looks so cool reminds us of that. I have a lot of atmosphere [Montana].
“Nothing bothered Joe at all. He was relaxed, he was calm in the huddle. Nothing could bother him and Brock seemed to have the same personality.
Defenses haven’t been able to bother Purdy much so far either. Purdy is a perfect 8-0 as a starter in the regular season with 1,834 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions in those eight games. Montana lost his first four games as the 49ers’ starting quarterback and went 2-6 in his first eight starts with 1,332 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Things have gotten a little better for Montana since then, and his former teammates believe Purdy might one day be on the same path. Now some final advice for those who continue to doubt Purdy: Don’t do it in front of Ronnie Lott, even 29 years after he retired.
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