ex panthers coach matt rhule was vetoed on brock purdy during 2022 nfl draft

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was the last player picked in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he’ll be playing for a championship on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

In a league where the quarterback position is king, 31 teams passed on Purdy, who has led the 49ers to a 21-6 record – including the playoffs – since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo midway through the 2022 season. 

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after beating the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 28, 2024, in Santa Clara, California. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Nebraska’s Matt Rhule wanted the Carolina Panthers to consider Purdy when he was head coach of the NFL organization, but was shot down. 

NFL LEGEND GETS REAL ABOUT BROCK PURDY’S ‘GAME MANAGER’ LABEL AHEAD OF 49ERS’ SUPER BOWL APPEARANCE

“I think Brock Purdy is an amazing player because I played against him at Iowa State,” Rhule said on Wednesday. “When I was in the draft room at Carolina, I brought his name up. I said, ‘Hey guys. He should be on the draft board.’ I got vetoed on that one.” 

Before taking the job in Carolina, Rhule was the head coach at Baylor for three seasons and coached against Purdy when the Bears played against Iowa State.

“We used to tell our guys when we were playing Brock Purdy, we were like, ‘Do not, do not, fall for his pump fake.’ Because Brock would come out, and he’d pump fake,” Rhule said. “First game, he’s 10 yards down the field, he pump fakes. Our DBs are jumping, and I’m like, ‘He’s past the line of scrimmage.’ So, a lot of respect for Brock.”

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Matt Rhule questions a call

Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule during the Michigan State Spartans game on Nov. 4, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rhule’s time in Carolina was short-lived, as the Panthers went 11-27 under his leadership. He returned to the college game before the 2023 season and led Nebraska to a 5-7 record in his first season in Lincoln. 

Purdy’s success in the NFL is one of the best stories the game has to offer as “Mr Irrelevant” leads his team into Super Bowl LVIII. And while Purdy is one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, he’s been labeled a “game manager” by some, which is often seen as a slight. 

Purdy doesn’t see it that way. 

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“I feel like it can be a compliment at times, where it’s like, ‘All right, you’ve got a guy that can come in and run the system well.’ I feel like that’s a compliment,” Purdy told the media in Las Vegas Tuesday. “I think you’re doing things right mentally, and, obviously, you’re good enough to be able to hit guys that are open and make plays. 

Brock Purdy looks on field

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers after a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 28, 2024, in Santa Clara, California. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

“You know, there’s 32 teams in the NFL, and there’s not a lot of people that can come in and play the quarterback position well in the NFL. It’s a hard job. So, if you’re saying that I’m a game manager and I don’t look flashy in how I do it, I mean, that’s your opinion, and that’s OK.”

The 49ers and Chiefs kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. 

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report

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