Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


‘He’s looking to dish out punishment’: Jerry Rice evaluates Deebo Samuel ahead of 49ers-Rams

Jan 26, 2022 at 11:30 AM--


Deebo Samuel has been a difference-maker for the San Francisco 49ers this season. He's a big reason why the 49ers made the playoffs and are now in the NFC Championship Game. If San Francisco knocks off the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, punching its ticket to the team's second Super Bowl appearance in three years, Samuel will be a big reason why.

No one really knows how to classify Samuel, though. He's a wide receiver, but he also shows off his versatility by playing running back. Samuel thinks of himself as a "wide back"—a wide receiver and running back hybrid.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice sees Samuel the same way.

"I see him as both (wide receiver and running back) because his body structure," Rice told Andrew Siciliano on NFL Network's NFL Now. "He can take that punishment from those big defensive linemen. He has the vision where, once he gets into the open area, he's thinking six; he's going to score the touchdown.

"Then the physicality of him too. He's not looking to just fall down or anything like that. He's looking to dish out punishment when he's running the football."

Rice had 87 carries over his illustrious career. Samuel has almost matched that in three seasons, with 59 of his 81 career carries coming this season. Siciliano asked Rice if he would have preferred more carries over his career.

"No," Rice responded while laughing. "I didn't have the body for it. And I think you look at Deebo, that last ball game, even though he's got that real thick body, the physicality of it and stuff like that, he was pretty exhausted. He looked like he had taken a lot of punishment, so I don't see them continuing to do that.

"But they gonna pick and choose opportunities where he's going to carry the football. But spread this guy on the outside, he's an exceptional runner, he knows how to get into the open spots, and he knows how to make those difficult catches."



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