Deebo Samuel is a beloved figure in the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room, known for his authenticity on and off the field. If he’s thinking something, he’ll say it, and you’ll know that’s what he honestly believes.
During this offseason, Samuel openly expressed his strong opinions following the NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. With quarterback Brock Purdy injured early in the game, Samuel firmly believes the outcome would have been different if Purdy had remained healthy.
“We lost because we played with 10 people,” Samuel declared, a statement that didn’t sit well with Eagles players, as they felt it diminished their accomplishment.
While many in the locker room shared similar sentiments, Samuel was the most vocal, asserting that the 49ers, not the Eagles, were the better team in that playoff matchup.
Ten months later, Samuel and the 49ers had an opportunity to prove it. The result was a convincing 42-19 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Samuel caught four passes for 116 yards, adding three carries for 22 yards and three trips into the end zone in that Week 13 rematch.
Samuel had backed up his offseason words.
“You want guys to have their own personalities, their own swagger,” tight end George Kittle told reporters this week. “That’s what makes a really good football team. I don’t want 53 guys who are all the same personality. I like the melting pot. When you have a guy like Deebo who works the way he does, backs it up the way he does, talks the way he does, I don’t think he ever crosses the line either. He just says what’s on his mind.”
Some question if Samuel occasionally goes too far with his comments, such as labeling Eagles cornerback James Bradberry as “trash.” Kittle simply sees this as Samuel expressing his honest opinion.
“I don’t think he’s ever very personal with anything,” Kittle shared. “He just says what’s on his mind, and I’m okay with that, especially when he backs it up with the work every single day, and he backs up with his play on the field. So I love that. And it does elevate us. It does bring us this swagger.
“You see him and [T] Trent [Williams] come out with the Bumpboxx, that’s who this team is. And it’s fun to have guys like that who are willing to speak their minds.”
When asked if Samuel brings the swagger because that’s what the team needs or if it’s just who he is, Kittle responded, “It’s not fake. I think he’s done that his whole life. Ever since I’ve been with him, it’s been pretty consistent. So I don’t think he sees that as I need to do this to get the team going. I think it’s I’m going to do this because that’s what I want to do, and that’s who he is, and I respect the hell out of that.”