Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch discusses ‘interesting journey’ that led to 49ers signing Deebo Samuel

Aug 2, 2022 at 12:16 PM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch spoke with reporters for the first time since signing wide receiver Deebo Samuel to a three-year contract extension valued at up to $73.5 million. The conversation took place via a conference call on Tuesday morning.

"I can't tell you how happy we are as an organization, how proud, really, that I am of Deebo Samuel," Lynch said. "... There's something magnetic about his personality, not just his play, but about the way he carries himself, that smile, all those things. Then what he's done for this organization. ... His play is incredibly inspirational."

Getting to this point wasn't easy, though. In April, Samuel even requested to be traded. That came after the All-Pro receiver removed all 49ers-related photos from his Instagram account.

"It took some hard work," Lynch said. "It was an interesting journey, but we knew all along that Deebo Samuel makes us better. And when you know that, and there's a tremendously strong relationship—and then relationships sometimes have ups and downs. There were some interesting times during this offseason, but we held onto that, first of all, the love we have for the kid. And I think that's mutual. I really do believe that."

On Monday, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin, who has spoken with Samuel, told 95.7 The Game that the receiver's trade request wasn't a negotiating tactic, as some have assumed.

"This is not a game. He really wanted to be moved," Irvin said. "And remember, I've had conversations with him, and I knew the nit grit on why that really came about. He shared that with me, and I said I wouldn't violate that and I won't share it. But when he did share it, I felt it when he explained it to me. So I felt it. So he wanted to be moved."

Lynch insists that Samuel has no ill-will toward the organization that drafted him and wants to remain with the team.

"Time, communication. Those things [helped us get on the same page]," Lynch said. "That was made difficult at times because that wasn't always possible. But also, remaining steadfast and understanding we have a responsibility to our organization. And as I articulated over and over, he makes us better. We are going to stick to our guns knowing that, in the end, he loves being a part of this organization."

The 49ers general manager felt that Samuel reporting to the team for its mandatory minicamp in June was a significant gesture that helped push forward the contract discussions.

"I can tell you we worked our tails off to communicate," Lynch said. "It is difficult, at times, during the offseason. A huge step in this, as I look [back], when Deebo made the decision to come, albeit he didn't participate, but just to show up at the mandatory minicamp. I thought that was huge and really allowed us [to progress]."

Lynch also shared the first thing Samuel told him after agreeing to terms on the contract extension.

"It's time to go to work," Samuel said.

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