NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero later explained what he believes the reason to be for Samuel’s request: the All Pro’s desire to only act as a wide receiver, not as a receiver and running back double threat.
“It sounds like there’s multiple layers to this, but certainly one of them is Deebo Samuel wants to be a receiver and not a receiver/running back,” Pelissero said on The Rich Eisen Show. “His rushing attempts were significantly up last season from where they’ve been in the past. We all know that he’s a really, really physical player, but there probably are some concerns here about longevity. The counterpoint to that, of course, is that part of the reason that Deebo Samuel is so valuable is because he’s versatile.”
Last season, Samuel completed 1,405 yards on 77 catches out of 121 attempts. On the other hand, he also rushed for 365 yards on 59 attempts. He had more rushing touchdowns (8) than he did receiving touchdowns (6).
With these statistics, Samuel led the 49ers in receiving yards, and he also had the second most rushing yards behind Elijah Mitchell.
Samuel’s rushing game increased last year mainly due to various running back injuries on the team. In Sept. 2021, all of the top five running backs on the team had some sort of injury.
It appears that Samuel wants to go to a team that doesn’t have running back or wide receiver issues, a team where he can solely play the role of wide receiver.
“In the big picture, it sounds like the role is part of the reason that Deebo wants to play somewhere else,” Pelissero said. “Where he may just be a true wide receiver and potentially tack on some years to his career.”
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For more San Francisco 49ers coverage, go to All 49ers.