Deebo Samuel's first touchdown backs up claim 49ers star loves 'wide back' role

·2 min read

Deebo's first TD backs up claim about loving 'wide back' role originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When Deebo Samuel sat down with reporters in early August after signing a lucrative contract extension with the 49ers, there was one question in particular that made him laugh.

Was his earlier trade request at all inspired by displeasure over being used as a “wide back” out of the backfield last season?

With a chuckle and a shake of his head, Samuel answered: “That’s false.”

And during the 49ers’ 2022 NFL season opener against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field, he provided fans with a reminder of just how much he thrives in that role

In the second quarter, Samuel broke a scoreless tie with a 6-yard run into the end zone for San Francisco’s first touchdown of the season, backing up his word.

After Samuel requested a trade from the 49ers in April, speculation began to swirl about the reason why. From location to trouble with contract negotiations, however, the one rumor that made its way to the top of the pile was that the wideout wasn’t thrilled with his usage.

He saw plenty of action out of the backfield during San Francisco’s 2021 campaign, stepping in to rush for 365 yards and eight touchdowns when injuries created a void in the running back room. In August, he told reporters that wasn’t a problem.

“There was a lot of things that came out that I wanted to speak on, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t allowed to,” Samuel said. “You can turn on the tape. Go back to the Cowboys game; it kind of shows what kind of player I am.

“Also, you can turn on the Pro Bowl tape, what I said about being a wide back. I don’t mind doing whatever it takes for this team to win.”

Samuel said during the Pro Bowl that he enjoys the wide back role because it allows him to get the ball in his hands more often.

That was the case on Sunday; through the first half of the 49ers’ matchup with the Bears, Samuel tallied 40 yards on six carries and helped the team head into halftime with a 7-0 lead.

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Samuel’s Week 1 usage so far backs up his claim that he enjoys the wide back role -- and coach Kyle Shanahan’s assurance that Samuel will be used this season in whatever way best helps the 49ers win.

And with running back Elijah Mitchell exiting Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a knee injury, Samuel could see more time in the backfield moving forward.

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