49ers’ Deebo Samuel Breaks Silence on ‘Usage’ Controversy

Deebo Samuel

Getty Deebo Samuel runs away from a Vikings defender during their November 28, 2021 meeting.

Deebo Samuel is happily paid and back in red.

Since his blockbuster $73.5 million deal he signed on Sunday, July 31, Samuel has been spotted at San Francisco 49ers training camp smiling, dancing and taking part in the team’s social media videos — signifying all is well between he and the team that drafted him in 2019 after an offseason of trade rumors and a report he wasn’t happy with his “usage.”

But regarding the latter, Samuel finally broke his silence on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 2 about those reports that he wasn’t happy about how the 49ers were using him as a running back and wide receiver — or as he coined it the “wide back.”

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Samuel Disputes the ‘Usage’ Controversy

Samuel spoke to the Bay Area media for the first time since after the NFC championship game loss to the Los Angeles Rams, plus for the first time as a more than $70 million 49er.

One reporter asked if Samuel truly was upset with his usage in the 49ers offense as one who took handoffs and took hits from defensive linemen and linebackers. Samuel answered it first with two words:

“That’s False,” Samuel said.

Then, Samuel dove deeper into the “usage” story — concluding that he only does things to help his team win regardless of what role he has to play on the field.

“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. I mean, you can turn on the tape, 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 wide back, I don’t mind doing whatever it takes for this team to win,” Samuel said.


The ‘Usage’ Argument

His usage in the 49ers offense emerged as a hot button topic among NFL media and fans beginning late in April.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was among the NFL insiders who dove into Samuel’s unhappiness toward the 49ers.

Fellow NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero was another who spoke about how Samuel was reportedly unhappy with how he was used in S.F.

His former 49ers teammate Richard Sherman tried to dissect what the usage meaning entailed during his podcast on April 27, 2022.

“Because there’s a different beating you take,” Sherman explained. “People are like ‘Man, look at how tough he is! Look at those big runs. Look at all the tackles he’s breaking.’ He still feels it. He’s still a human being — he still has bruises on his back, on his shoulder and on his neck. He still feels every blow that he takes. And as a receiver, you’re not taking that many blows. You shouldn’t be taking that many blows that consistently.”

Then, there was Michael Irvin stating how “Deebo really wanted to moved” during his appearance on 95.7 FM The Game’s Damon and Ratto Show on Tuesday.

“I had conversations with him, and I knew the [details] on why that came about. He shared that with me, and I won’t violate and share that. But when he did share it, I felt it when he explained it to me. I felt it. So he wanted to be moved,” Irvin told the show.

But now, Samuel not only addressed what he called false reports, he also shared eight more words that was reshared online via The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi:

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