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49ers game-changers: Deebo Samuel on the impact of Purdy, McCaffrey, Shanahan

Feb 11, 2024 at 9:58 AM--

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Deebo Samuel sat down with Michael Irvin for an exclusive interview that aired on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning." The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver is preparing to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58 later today. It's a matchup that Samuel has been looking forward to for several reasons.

Four years ago, the 49ers lost Super Bowl 54 to the Chiefs after a late-game collapse erased a 10-point lead. While this is Samuel's second appearance in the big game, he looks at his teammate, Trent Williams, who, despite playing in the NFL since 2010, will experience his first Super Bowl appearance.

"It's just little things like that that kind of stick with me," Samuel said. "Why not go out here and just lay it all on the line for my brother? It's just a little different, man. It's just like, this opportunity don't happen every day."

49ers not in Super Bowl 58 without Brock Purdy

While Brock Purdy has been criticized rather unfairly, Samuel and those inside the 49ers' locker room know they wouldn't be in the Super Bowl without their second-year quarterback.

"It's a million things that make this guy special," Samuel said. "Like the moment is never too big for him. Being a guy that was the last pick in the draft, to being thrown in the fire with minimum reps with starters, to making an NFC championship, hurting his elbow, just to come in this year and just go game by game and just get better as the season go.

"And if you look at this past game, like without Brock, the way he was getting out the pocket and extending plays, without that, I don't think we here right now."

Christian McCaffrey is a unicorn

The 49ers added another do-everything player via a trade last season, bolstering the offense with versatile running back Christian McCaffrey. His stellar performance this season, amassing 2,023 scrimmage yards and 21 total touchdowns, earned him the title of AP Offensive Player of the Year.

"That man is a unicorn," Samuel said. "I remember [when] he first walked in the huddle, and I'm looking around in the huddle, I'm just like, 'You got [WR] Brandon [Aiyuk], you got [TE George] Kittle, you got [FB Kyle Juszczyk], you got Trent.' I'm like, 'How is people going to stop this?'

"And as it kept going, I learned a little bit more about Christian. It's just like, the man can play any position you want him to play. The amount of things that he do out there that helps us, and the offensive mind that [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] already has is just amazing, man."

Relationship with Kyle Shanahan

Speaking of Shanahan, Samuel reflected on his evolving relationship with his head coach, highlighting the personal growth and mutual respect they've cultivated over time.

"The relationship that I've built with Kyle since the Senior Bowl to now, it's been crazy," Samuel shared. "And just not only the football aspect of things—of being a father, growing as a man. It's just little things. The relationship I've built with Kyle, it's just crazy. It's amazing."
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