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Deebo Samuel on 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk’s growth: Long-dread B.A. better than short-dread B.A.

Feb 8, 2024 at 1:51 PM--

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Deebo Samuel typically keeps his responses concise when addressing reporters. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver is very matter-of-fact in his answers. However, Samuel's demeanor shifted when discussing the progress of his teammate, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. With a slight smile, he offered a lengthier-than-normal response, eager to commend his friend.

"It's crazy because I remember when Brandon first got here, I seen it," Samuel said of Aiyuk. "The man literally got all the tools to be one of the best wide receivers in league, which he is that, and he's shown it over and over and over."

Aiyuk, now in his fourth NFL season, was drafted by the 49ers as the 25th overall pick in 2020. He has racked up over 1,000 receiving yards in consecutive seasons, tallying a career-best and team-leading 1,342 receiving yards alongside seven touchdowns in 16 games this season.

Despite his current success, Aiyuk faced challenges early on. You might remember the start of the 2021 season, when the media believed the young receiver had landed in head coach Kyle Shanahan's doghouse.

Speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area this week, NFL insider Ian Rapoport stated, "You guys remember when he first got there, I wasn't sure this was going to work out. It didn't seem like Kyle Shanahan was that thrilled. He has worked his way toward being one of the best receivers in the NFL."

On Sunday, Aiyuk will play in his first Super Bowl. His on-field production and continued growth have been key in getting the 49ers to this point.

Reflecting on Aiyuk's development since his rookie season, Samuel humorously said, "Just to see him grow, from the little dreads to the long dreads. From the little dreads to the long dreads, I think the long-dread B.A. is way better than the short-dread B.A. But man, the man playing outstanding right now, for real."

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