Deebo Samuel expected to attend 49ers minicamp

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Deebo Samuel is expected to attend the San Francisco 49ers' mandatory minicamp amid a contract saga that has overshadowed their offseason.

Samuel requested a trade from the 49ers back in April and was reportedly refusing to engage with San Francisco in discussions over a long-term extension.

The All-Pro wide receiver was said to be dissatisfied with his role in the 49er offense, which relied on him heavily as both a receiver and a running back in 2021 as San Francisco reached the NFC Championship Game.

However, the Niners stood firm in refusing to trade Samuel, reportedly rejecting offers for the 2019 second-round pick during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kyle Shanahan said during a media conference that none of the offers were "even remotely close" to what the Niners would consider the right price for Samuel.

Samuel did not attend the Niners' organised team activities, which are voluntary, but multiple reports said Samuel will avoid any fines for skipping minicamp, which begins on Tuesday, by returning to San Francisco's facility.

He and Shanahan were each in attendance, although sat in different areas of the arena, at Chase Center in San Francisco on Sunday for the Golden State Warriors' NBA Finals clash with the Boston Celtics.

And Samuel's decision to attend minicamp could be seen as a positive step in contract negotiations, with the Niners understandably keen to hold on to him beyond the 2022 season, which marks the final year of his rookie deal.

Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel

In addition to making 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns – averaging a league-leading 18.2 yards per reception – in 2021, Samuel also carried the ball 59 times for 365 yards and eight touchdowns, breaking Eric Metcalf's record (six) for most rushing touchdowns by a wide receiver in a single season, set in 1989.

Samuel labelled himself a 'wide back' when asked to define his position, and he registered 27 rushing attempts in the playoffs, scoring a rushing touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys and converting a key third down on the ground in the fourth quarter of the win over the Green Bay Packers, before the Niners' Super Bowl hopes were ended by the Los Angeles Rams.

The Niners made moves to potentially placate Samuel's apparent frustration with his role in the draft, selecting running back Tyrion Davis-Price and a wide receiver with the speed to do damage out of the backfield, Danny Gray, in the third round.

General manager John Lynch last week said Samuel would be a part of the Niners this season, and the odds of him being proven right now look to have improved.

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