Deebo Samuel’s three-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers was signed on Monday, and the wide receiver/running back was back to practice in time to put on the pads. It was an offseason full of turmoil in getting it done, but done it is.
“I can’t tell you how happy we are as an organization, how proud really that I am for Deebo Samuel,” 49ers general manager said in a call with the local media on Tuesday. “…[T]here’s something magnetic about his personality, not only his play, but about the way he carries himself, that smile…
“And then what he’s done for this organization since, [head coach Kyle Shanahan] talked about it, I talked about it. His play is incredibly inspirational. I’ve used something that Herm Edwards used to talk a lot about, ‘When will meets skill, you got an opportunity to be special.’ And I think Deebo probably embodies that better than any player I’ve ever seen. So we’re extremely proud, excited, overjoyed, all of those things to have Deebo in the fold for years to come.”
After scrubbing his social media of all things 49ers and requesting a trade, it certainly didn’t seem as if Levi’s Stadium was going to be Samuel’s home, but the 49ers were clear they wanted to keep him, and keep him they did.
“I mean, at the end of the day, this is a business,” Samuel said. “So what changed was the communication. The more we communicated, the more we started to figure things out.”
Reports came out that Samuel was unhappy with his usage as both a wide receiver and a running back, or wideback – a term that Samuel coined last season. Samuel refutes the reports.
“It’s false,” Samuel said on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of things that came out that I want to speak on, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t allowed to…[Y]ou can turn on the tape or go back to the Cowboys game. It kind of shows what kind of player I am. And also, I mean, you can go turn on the Pro Bowl tape. And like what I said about being a wideback…[I’ll] do whatever it takes for this team to win.”
Lynch spoke about the organization first getting to know Samuel at the 2019 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Samuel talked about his relationship with his head coach and how it’s grown.
“I think it all started for me with kind of get a feel of who he was and just, I mean, I can’t even explain our relationship,” Samuel said. “There’s not a day I don’t go in there and talk to him or in offseason when he’s at the San Diego beach house, he’ll FaceTime me…It’s just that kind of relationship…[I]t’s not necessarily about football. It’s just about life.”
Samuel is close to 49ers LT Trent Williams. Williams went through his own contract negotiations with San Francisco in 2021 and was there as a sounding board for Samuel.
“I talked to both sides during the process, I was literally chopping it up with him the last two days, talking to Kyle,” Williams said on Monday. “I’m just doing my part as a mentor to Deebo, looking at him as a little brother, and as captain of this team. I’m just doing my part, offering my little two cents….My biggest thing was, I never wanted to overstep any boundaries, because Deebo worked his whole life to get to this position, and you don’t work your whole life on this dream and get in this position, and let somebody else tell you what to do. I just offered my little two cents when he asked for it, or if I see something need to be said, I might say it, but I just left it at that.”
For Samuel, it was helpful to have Williams in his corner.
“Trent’s kind like my big brother,” Samuel said. “He just told me to stay levelheaded. Everything’s gonna work out. And there was a time where I spent like a week with Trent, just chilling, just hanging around, just to keep my mind up a lot of things. And so that, that kind of helped me a lot.”
Samuel heard from other teammates, including his new QB1, Trey Lance. Lance spent much of the offseason training with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, but he and Samuel – arguably his best offensive weapon – have had less time together.
“It’s getting better by day,” Samuel said. “I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with him and I wanted to, but it’s not hard to really…be out there with Trey. He’s willing to learn and I’m willing to learn as well. And we just come together as one to figure it out.”
That being said, Tuesday’s training camp practice saw a number of reps between the two.
“I mean, every time we step out there, we’re just trying to get better as a group day-by-day,” Samuel said.
Samuel is tied to the team until 2025, so with that, the drama comes to an end.
“You just got to be patient,” Samuel said. “Be patient, communicate. Everything is not going to happen as you wanted to at first.”