Deebo Samuel gives eye-opening insight after ‘awful’ 2022 season

Jun 6, 2023, 2:50 PM | Updated: 3:57 pm

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers is taken off the field on a cart after being injured du...

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Coming off another season with playoff success, star wide receiver Deebo Samuel played a vital role for the 49ers. At least for everyone except Deebo.

San Francisco’s offensive superstar was candid on his play in 2022, openly berating his production and preparation during the season. A player known for short answers, he didn’t hold back Tuesday with the media.

“It was awful. [In] every aspect,” Deebo Samuel said bluntly.

When asked to elaborate, the South Carolina alum explained that he and head coach Kyle Shanahan sat down to review game film recently. The tape, and how he felt while playing, showed both men that it was a lackluster season as a whole for Samuel.

“Oh yeah, for sure. Me and Kyle had a long meeting the other day. We watched tape. We talked about it, we put it behind us and just going through the tape and just [saw] how sluggish and like how bad [my play] looked on tape… I’ll never put something like that on tape ever again,” Samuel stated.

A lot happened to Samuel in the span of the 2022 calendar year.

After a tumultuous offseason fueled by contract negotiations and trade rumors, Deebo eventually showed up to training camp, inking a three-year, $73.5 million contract extension at the start. And while everything seemed okay after that, it was already too late in his mind.

Samuel admitted to contract talks being a distraction last year, getting him out of the routine that made him an All-Pro player in 2021. To make matters worse, he was out of shape, having to work his way back into form during the season. Then he suffered an MCL sprain in Week 13, costing him the remainder of the 2022 regular season.

While injuries happen, he attests his setbacks to being behind schedule in the offseason.

“I was kind of behind the eight ball a little bit, as far as being in my routine that I normally be in for the offseason and getting ready to play,” Samuel explained. “And like I said, a lot of distractions going on. But yeah, I kind of felt [not myself], but I was just trying to will my way to help the team in every aspect possible.”

Now a year removed from the drama and with the team in June, Deebo Samuel is hoping to turn his play around in a hurry next season. But with a lot of mouths to feed on offense, All-Pro numbers could be out of the question in San Francisco. Despite a personal vendetta to be better with these touches, he’s not going gripe with the play-calling, more so competing with himself each & every day on the field.

“Nah I’m my own competitor, I compete with myself,” Samuel stated.

In fact, he’s thankful for the offensive firepower the 49ers possess, especially fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk.

Aiyuk featured heavily for the Red & Gold last season, eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career. That production has only carried over into 2023, according to Samuel.

“Man, you can’t cover that boy in a phone booth right now,” he said about his counterpart with a chuckle.”He’s gotten better, day-in day-out, every season. He’s gotten better and I’m seeing flashes of stuff that I ain’t seen him do. Like how fast he is now, how explosive he is, and the separation he get in-and-out of routes, you can tell he’s really detailed. He’s obviously been ready to go.”

Inspired by his teammates’ play, Samuel hopes to create a new and improved 2.0 version of their tandem in 2023.

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