By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- As a Bay Area kid, Tom Brady grew up loving the San Francisco 49ers. It made sense, then, that when given the first real opportunity to choose where he wanted to play football, the quarterback wanted to return home.
Some details about just how badly Brady wanted to make that happen have now come out, in excerpt from Seth Wickersham's new book, shared by Sports Illustrated. Interestingly, Brady has only played in San Francisco once in his entire career, and he's only played against the 49ers three times in total. But if he had his choice last winter, he would have made the place his home once again.
"In late February, [Brady] tried to assert control," Wickersham wrote of Brady's pending free agency in 2020. "He reached out to Wes Welker, who was now the 49ers' receivers coach, and let him know that if San Francisco was interested, it would be his choice -- no free-agency tour, no bidding war, full stop; he would end his career where his love of football began, in scarlet and gold, allowing his parents to drive to games for the first time since the 1990s."
No negotiation. No nothing. Brady was willing to sign on the dotted line with San Francisco.
The 49ers could have had the GOAT, but according to Wickersham, the team was "tepid."
After doing some obligatory due diligence, the 49ers ... decided to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo.
The oft-injured Garoppolo started just six games, throwing seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Brady of course ended up with Tampa Bay, where he played more than 95 percent of the team's offensive snaps, throwing 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions before throwing 10 more touchdowns in the playoffs, winning the Super Bowl (his seventh) and earning Super Bowl MVP honors (for the fifth time). He's thrown for over 2,000 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions thus far in 2021, and the Bucs are 5-1. The 49ers are 2-3, in last place in the NFC West.
The 49ers also effectively moved on from Garoppolo this year, when they traded three first-round picks plus a third-round pick to move up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft quarterback Trey Lance.
Of course, a lot of teams must feel regret for underestimating what Tom Brady had left in the tank at age 43 and beyond. But the 49ers had an appeal that no other team had: the lure of being Brady's favorite team as a kid, and the ability to essentially sign the quarterback with no questions asked by the player.
Suffice it to say ... the 49ers can't feel too great about how things worked out.
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