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Steve Young and Brock Purdy sat down to talk about football. They focused on faith instead

‘I know God’s going to take care of wherever I’m at in my life, whether it’s football or not,’ Purdy said

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy watches from the sideline during an NFL football game against Los Angeles Rams.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy watches from the sideline during a game against the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2024.

Loren Elliott, Associated Press

Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young caught up with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy ahead of the team’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

The two quarterbacks sat down to talk about football, but the conversation, which was shared on the 49ers’ YouTube page Wednesday, steered toward their faith.

“My identity isn’t in football,” Purdy said. “I know who I am, and ‘God, if you want me to do great with (football), great. If not, all right, let’s go do something else, wherever you need me.’ That’s allowed me to not put all this pressure on myself. It’s allowed me to play free. It’s allowed me to live my life and keep things simple.”

Purdy told Young, who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers, that his faith has allowed him to overcome the fear of failure and trust where God is going to take him.

“Tying into my faith, that allows me to just play and not be afraid to fail. I know God’s going to take care of wherever I’m at in my life, whether it’s football or not. I’m actually able to use that when I’m making decisions and playing football.”

Young, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared that he felt the same grounding power from his faith while he was playing football.

“(Faith) was one of my super powers,” he said. “It’s a grounding. It sends a kind of constant message to your brain that you’re grounded and nothing’s going to stop that.”

Purdy said that in addition to relying on his faith, he grounds himself by focusing on his other titles in life: fiancé, son, brother and teammate.

“People may think we’re on another level or these gods, but man, I’m human. I have flaws. There’s things I need to work on in my life. I’m playing football for the 49ers. I’m very thankful for that opportunity, but I also try to have this perspective that of like man, I’m human,” he said.

What has Brock Purdy learned this year?

On the field this season, Purdy has learned he doesn’t need to be an “athletic Superman” to win games. He can win with his mind by consistently making the right decisions, he said. Off the field, he has learned more about his faith in God and how that affects his identity.

“For me, it’s my faith in God and that’s it,” he said. “I am who he calls me to be.”

Young asked Purdy if last year he would have believed that he would go from the 2022 NFL draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant” to the player with the most Pro Bowl votes this season.

“That’s all God. He’s got a plan more bigger and more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I’m just going to show up every day, work hard and see where he takes me. So I’m very thankful for it, man, but did I ever expect all this kind of stuff? I didn’t. I had no idea, so (I) just try to show up, do my job every day and it falls in the place it needs to.”

Purdy said his faith stems from his parents. He told Young that prayer plays a big role in his family, especially on game days.

“The night before games, we always call. We pray together,” he said. “My dad’s nervous. He’s always praying. He says the whole game he’s just praying the whole time.”

What did Steve Young say about his conversation with Brock Purdy?

During his appearance on KNBR Wednesday, Young was asked if he believed Purdy would actually give up football if the 49ers won the Super Bowl this year and God then asked him to give up his football career to “shuck corn.”

“I think you’d have to take him at his word. I think that’s how he feels about it,” he said. “(His) answer to that would be ‘I’d go shuck corn.’”

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young readies for a pass during an NFL preseason game at the Tokyo Dome on Aug. 6, 1995, in Japan.

Itsuo Inouye, Associated Press

What is Steve Young up to now?

Young became an ESPN analyst after he retired from football in 1999 but was a victim of the company’s layoffs in 2023.

He has become the assistant coach of his daughters’ flag football team at Menlo School in Atherton, California, as the Deseret News previously reported. Girls flag football became a state-sanctioned sport in 2023.

“How much the girls took to playing the game and how much it meant to them that instead of saying, ‘I love football because I get to watch it,’ (they say) ‘I love football because I get to play it.’ It’s a completely different thing, and that’s what blew me away,” he said in an NFL Films video shared on social media Thursday.

While his daughters Summer and Laila both inherited their dad’s love of football, they have chosen to play a different position: wide receiver. Young said he now has a Jerry Rice and John Taylor in the family.

“Honestly, all my friends come up to me like, ‘Your dad is the best coach I’ve ever had.’ I think it’s just because he’s so supportive,” Summer said.

Young is in awe of how the girls have taken to the sport. He described a memorable moment spent teaching them about different snap counts. When they tried it, the girls didn’t jump offsides like his former teammates used to.

“I spent 15 years trying to get my guys to go on two,” he said. “Girls — they get it. They’re coachable. They listen, and they have a ton of fun.”