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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Deebo Samuel says 49ers losing Jimmy Garoppolo ‘is pretty big,’ but is confident in Brock Purdy, Trey Lance

Feb 8, 2023 at 2:25 PM


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On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel spoke with USA Today in Arizona ahead of this weekend's Super Bowl 57 clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. It could have featured Samuel and his 49ers had rookie quarterback Brock Purdy not suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow early in the NFC Championship Game.

"It hurts losing that game, but it didn't hurt as bad as it should, if that makes sense," Samuel said via Cydney Henderson. "What were you supposed to do in a moment like that? We didn't want our season to end that way. If anything, we wanted to put up a fight instead of not having a chance."

During Week 13, Purdy replaced Garoppolo, who suffered a broken foot. Garoppolo had replaced Trey Lance, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Week 2. Next season, the quarterback room will be missing one of those names. Last week, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that he couldn't envision a scenario where Garoppolo returns in 2023.

The veteran quarterback is scheduled to become a free agent on March 15.

"Being around Jimmy for four years and being around the league for the last four years, you see a lot," Samuel shared. "People come in, people leave, people get cut. Not only just Jimmy, we have a few free agents on our team, which no team is going to look exactly the same. But losing Jimmy is pretty big."

That doesn't mean Samuel lacks faith in Purdy or Lance, two very different quarterbacks. With Purdy scheduled to undergo surgery on February 22, Lance will have the offseason, perhaps uncontested, to prove himself capable of starting next season.

"What makes Trey so special is … he can use his feet," Samuel said. "He is kind of that dual-threat quarterback. He can put that fear in you running. What makes Purdy so special is that he's so decisive. He's poised, and he's not afraid to mess up ... Purdy can move around a little bit too."

Samuel added: "It's going to be a competitive match, and the coach (Kyle Shanahan) is going to make the best decision for the team."
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