SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Brandon Aiyuk ‘can’t wait’ to be back on the field after Deebo’s big Week 3

Sep 26, 2023, 9:00 AM | Updated: 9:38 am

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Deebo Samuel #19 after catching a touc...

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Sometimes success is driven by those around you. In this case, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are fueled by one another.

The San Francisco 49ers wide receivers have been a dynamic duo since Aiyuk was drafted by the team in 2020. And while it took some time before both were featured in the starting lineup, the duo have blossomed alongside one another, becoming friends on and off the field.

So when the 49ers made the decision to rest Aiyuk in Week 3 due to a lingering shoulder injury, it was weird for many, including Samuel.

“For me, it was kind of different because I was talking to Brandon last night, I was like, ‘bro, like this is my first time being in a huddle without you’,” Samuel shared after Week 3’s win over the New York Giants.

But while it may have felt awkward initially, that didn’t stop Deebo from having a day in primetime. Samuel led the team in catches and yards last Thursday, hauling in six receptions, 129 receiving yards, and one touchdown to close the show. He was back to his old self, no longer hampered by the offseason fatigue he dealt with in 2022.

And because of that, everyone was fired up on the sidelines, including Brandon Aiyuk, eager to get back out on the field ASAP.

“It was different from the sideline, because you could feel the energy from the team and the stadium get picked up when a play like that is made,” Aiyuk said Monday of Deebo Samuel’s tackle-breaking third quarter play. “It got me super excited. I can’t wait to go out there and just make a play.”

Brandon Aiyuk suffered an upper-body injury early in Week 2’s matchup against the Rams. After landing on his shoulder, the Rocklin native was seen in and out of the lineup the rest of the day in visible pain.

After tests confirmed that he didn’t suffer any structural damage to his clavicle, Aiyuk’s status for Week 3 came down to pain tolerance. But with a long season still ahead, the 49ers didn’t risk it, making a cautious call that everyone agreed with.

“As the week progressed, we talked more about it, but the decision was already made,” Aiyuk said Monday of missing his first game since his rookie season. “I was happy with the collaborative effort and we were all on the same page.”

San Francisco will need a fully healthy Brandon Aiyuk to make a deep run into the postseason this winter. And 2023 has so far shown us that he has another level to him, emerging as a mismatch nightmare for any defense.

While “BA” has possessed the talent since his Arizona State days, his play didn’t start showing up until his second year in the NFL. That’s partially due to his willingness to be a better teammate, now instrumental in the run game for the 49ers.

It’s also due to having Samuel as his counterpart, learning from an All-Pro teammate the last few years.

“I love having him as a teammate just because you have somebody around you that motivates you,” Aiyuk said about Samuel earlier this year. “And I said it before, I get to watch him do the stuff that he does, the way he goes about his business and that motivates me to be better. And I’m sure he’d say the same thing.”

And Samuel does, predicting a big year for his friend during the 2023 training camp.

Both men have benefited from each other, but it’s Aiyuk who is making the biggest leap to superstardom, blossoming into a Pro Bowl wideout in front of our eyes.

“From year one to now, his confidence level is through the roof,” Deebo Samuel stated in the summer about Brandon Aiyuk. “He walks in, he walks out every day like ‘Nobody can guard me.’ You walk around with that type of attitude and you take it out there to the field, it can only translate. He took his game to another level.”

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, October 1st vs. Arizona Cardinals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 8th vs. Dallas Cowboys – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST

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