Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up.
“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Purdy had an idea he was going to be “Mr. Irrelevant”
The 49ers’ quarterback is obviously a smart guy. That much is apparent from the moment you hear him speak — which is probably why he reportedly aced the controversial new S2 cognition test during last season’s pre-draft process.
The test he absolutely aced — and one that predicted his brilliant rookie season for the 49ers — was administered out of public view. Purdy landed in the mid 90s on something called the S2 Cognition test, a score you might consider Drew Brees-like.
Which is to say, it’s elite.
So it’s no wonder that he was able to put two and two together when San Francisco informed him the team would be selecting him in the seventh round.
“I didn’t think I was going the first day or two,” he told the Kelce brothers. “It was really Day 3. For me, it was like, ‘Where am I gonna be at?’ I didn’t really care how I got there. I just wanted to get there and have an opportunity. Just waiting all day for a call.
“The Niners had called me before the seventh round — and told me, ‘Hey, we’ve got one more pick.’ And so I went on my phone and Googled it. I saw I was the last pick and was like, ‘Oh man, I’m about to be Mr. Irrelevant.’”
2. Trey Lance was a huge help to Purdy during his rookie season
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that not every NFL player is a nice guy. Tens of millions of dollars separate even a middle-of-the-road starting quarterback and his backup. Then there are the volatile (sometimes fragile) egos of grown men who have spent their entire lives conditioning themselves to be overly competitive and win at all costs.
So it’s no wonder that sometimes you hear stories — like the one from last year where Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill famously said that it wasn’t his job to mentor then-rookie quarterback Malik Willis.
It was the same idea expressed by Brett Favre when the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2007.
“My contract doesn’t say I have to get Aaron Rodgers ready to play,” said Favre, per PackersNews.com. “Now, hopefully he watches me and gets something from that. There is no clause that says, ‘You groom the next guy who’s going to take your job, or else.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
But neither is it true that every incumbent quarterback is a merciless jerk. Former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith went out of his way to help rookie Patrick Mahomes improve his game while serving as Smith’s backup in 2017.
From Purdy’s description, Lance followed Smith’s example more than those of Farve or Tannehill.
“Him going down in the season — and being in every meeting and helping Jimmy and myself,” noted Purdy. “When I got in, man, Trey was right there — just with everything. Just advice. I couldn’t appreciate it more.”
But Purdy said that Lance wasn’t the only helpful 49ers teammate.
“And then George Kittle, man,” continued Purdy. “Oh, he’s awesome. I’m a serious guy. I like to make sure I’m doing my thing. I don’t want to mess up for my teammates, so I’m all serious and whatnot.
“Kittle just brings so much joy to playing the game. Like you’re playing in the NFL, [so] you get to have fun with it… He’s just got a good perspective on enjoying what you have. So I’ll always be appreciative of George.”
3. Advice for the next “Mr. Irrelevant”
Purdy said that for him, it was awesome just to hear his name called — even if it was an announcement that he would be the draft’s final pick.
“The term doesn’t define you,” he suggested to the next recipient of the dubious honor. “I feel like you got an opportunity, man. Gotta make the most of it — just like anybody else. It’s your shot. You get a shot. Go make the most of it.”
Purdy’s words echoed a sentiment Jason and Travis had expressed earlier in the episode — about how a player’s draft position doesn’t matter. Players have one job: to outperform the guys ahead of them on the depth chart.
Or as Isiah Pacheco might say, it’s about “giving 120 percent, competing and [being] willing to take another grown man’s job.”