Buck hopes Deebo plays for ‘fun' 49ers team in 2022


There’s no doubt that Deebo Samuel had a prolific 2021 season for the 49ers but there’s one thing about his breakout campaign that surprised Joe Buck. 

The ESPN broadcaster spoke to the media on Monday, where he discussed his experiences with Samuel prior to production meetings before games that he and fellow commentator Troy Aikman were covering. While there still is no confirmation regarding what the reported issues are between the wideout and the club, Buck thought he could rule one reason out. 

“I know there’s a lot of speculation that he doesn’t like how he’s been used,” Buck said. “When he talked to us, he didn’t mind the running back stuff, and said sometimes he comes out of games less sore than he comes out of games when he’s just split out or just playing the role of a wide receiver.” 

If that is indeed the case, it would seem that Samuel’s issue with the team is not how the “wide back” is used on the field. Samuel earned his first NFL All-Pro nod after catching 77 of his 121 targets for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. 

In the second half of the season, Samuel's role expanded, as he evolved into a part-time running back. The South Carolina product ended the year with 59 carries for 365 yards and an additional eight touchdowns. 

“I thought at the end of the year last year you could make the case that Deebo Samuel was the most valuable player in the NFL,” Buck said. “Certainly the most dynamic for what he was doing in-game.” 

Samuel was a key ingredient to the 49ers' success down the stretch, helping them get to the NFC Championship Game in Los Angeles. Buck believes the team will benefit greatly from the wideout’s presence, especially if the club moves forward with Trey Lance under center as the starter. 

“I just hope Deebo is there,” Buck said. “He’s a special guy. I hope that team that we saw at the end of the year is back together because they’re fun to watch. They’re fun to cover. They’re really well-coached. They can make a legitimate claim in my opinion to be one of the top teams in the NFC and see what happens in the playoffs.” 

RELATED: Aikman believes Lance is in ideal situation to thrive with 49ers

Samuel is under contract with the 49ers through the 2022 season and the club has the option to use the franchise tag to keep him an additional season. The wideout’s contract situation likely will be resolved closer to training camp in July as San Francisco did with both George Kittle and Fred Warner in previous seasons.

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