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49ers name six captains for 2023 season, including QB Brock Purdy

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 6, 2023 at 3:06 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are continuing a trend started during the 2022 season, as head coach Kyle Shanahan announced the team's six captains for the upcoming season: quarterback Brock Purdy, defensive tackle Arik Armstead, tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, linebacker Fred Warner, and offensive tackle Trent Williams.

The 49ers elected to have six captains instead of seven, leaving out candidates like star defensive tackle Nick Bosa and running back Christian McCaffrey, while electing to name second-year quarterback Brock Purdy as a captain for the upcoming year.

Did Shanahan have a tough decision when it came to naming his quarterback a captain, especially given that the 49ers didn't name Trey Lance one in 2022? Not really, but Shanahan did point out that it doesn't matter as much for a quarterback being a captain early in his career, although it's an additional benefit.

"[Being named a captain early in your career as a quarterback] really isn't [that important] to me. I thought about this when I became a head coach. I mean when you think really hard about the captains and stuff and it'd be cool if there was just one on each, which I kind of like and stuff, but then it becomes a little bit of a popularity contest with the players," Shanahan said. "I never want to have to get involved and tell them I disagree or anything. So I always just get their top guys. I have them all vote for four people. You get a first place, second place, third place and fourth place vote. I get the top eight and then you decide off of that and we went one through six and I think the most we've kept is seven before. But, there's a lot more than six guys on our team who could do it and so that's why it's kind of a thing I try not to make too big a deal about because you're going to offend someone on your team."

However, Shanahan believes Purdy has earned the moniker, given the way he carried himself through the 2022 season.

"Yeah, I do. I definitely do. It's when you go out and you play like he did last year, that's what it is. I mean, it's hard to be seen as a leader when you haven't been out there before," Shanahan said. "Guys can think you're a leader, you can act like a leader, but guys don't follow many people who don't produce on the field and I think that's why he got so many votes this year because I think they believed in him and felt he was one of the leaders last year. Not because he's being some vet and talking to guys a certain way, just because of how he prepares, that they can count on him and how he handled a number of situations when he got in there."

A new face in the group? Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who showed some accountability earlier this offseason when pointing out that the 2022 season didn't go to his expectations, characterizing his year as "awful".

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was pleased to see that growth for Samuel, and believed his wideout earned a captain badge this season as well.

"I think it says a ton. I was happy for Deebo, he got that," Shanahan said. "I think he was disappointed he didn't last year. I know he was and for him to be one of those guys, especially how last year ended a little bit for him, I think it shows how dedicated he's been. You guys have seen it out on the field and you guys have written about and stuff and the players feel it strongly also."

The 49ers will carry forward with six captains for the second consecutive season after rolling with seven choices earlier in the Shanahan era. For 2023, it'll be Brock Purdy, Arik Armstead, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Fred Warner, and Trent Williams.

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