Shanahan hails 'inspirational' Samuel, who signs new three-year 49ers deal

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Kyle Shanahan said Deebo Samuel "inspires" him as the San Francisco 49ers confirmed the All-Pro wide receiver has signed a three-year extension.

Reports on Sunday suggested that Samuel, who was entering the final season of his rookie deal, would receive $58.1million guaranteed, in a deal potentially worth $73.5m.

In the 2021 season, Samuel became just the second player to score six or more rushing and receiving touchdowns and record over 1,000 receiving yards in a single NFL campaign, after former 49ers running back Roger Craig in 1985 was the first.

Samuel also set an NFL season record for a wide receiver with eight rushing touchdowns.

The 26-year-old led the league in yards per reception (18.2) last season among players with at least 35 catches, while his 1,770 yards from scrimmage ranked as the third most in the league and the second-highest total by a wide receiver in franchise history, behind only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's 1,884 in 1995.

Speaking at a media conference on Monday just prior to the official confirmation, head coach Shanahan said: "My favourite thing about Deebo is how much he inspires people. He inspires me more than almost any player I've watched on a field.

"The way he runs the ball when you're handing it to him or you're throwing it to him, when he's catching it on a kick, and these aren't things that you have to talk him into doing. He usually talks you into doing [them] because Deebo just loves playing football.

"He loves helping us win, and I think that's what everybody sees on Sunday when you guys watch him on TV. I think that's why this country really likes Deebo also."

Samuel had reportedly requested a trade in April, but the two sides worked out their issues and Samuel did report to June's mandatory mini-camp as well as training camp, though he did not practise while his contract situation remained unresolved.

Following confirmation of the deal, 49ers general manager John Lynch also referenced the player's inspirational qualities, saying: "We are overjoyed to have come together with Deebo to keep him with the 49ers for years to come.

"Deebo has the rare ability to not only play at a unique level but to inspire his team-mates with the way he plays. He is a special player that embodies 'will meeting skill'.

"We're proud to move forward with him as an integral leader and foundational piece of our team."

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