San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who just inked a three-year extension worth up to $73.5 million, denied reports that his previous trade request was due to displeasure over the team using him as both a wideout and running back (wide back).
"That’s false," Samuel told reporters Tuesday.
"There's a lot of things that came out that I want to speak on, but at the end of the day, I wasn't allowed to. I mean, you can turn on the tape, go back to the Cowboys game. It kind of shows what kind of player I am. And also, I mean, you can go turn on the Pro Bowl tape and like, what I said about being a wide back, I don’t mind doing whatever it takes for this team to win."
Last April, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Samuel was not "comfortable ... with the way he is being used."
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
From NFL Now: For more than a week, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> have been dealing with a major issue in their WRs room, as Deebo Samuel requested a trade. <a href="https://t.co/PDuN2TsjHz">pic.twitter.com/PDuN2TsjHz</a>
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network also reported on the Rich Eisen Show that Samuel was unhappy with his role.
Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow
Deebo's trade request became public just after we hung up with <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a> in our first hour so we had to call him back to explain what went wrong in San Francisco:<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FTTB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FTTB</a> <a href="https://t.co/lveW0WP1fD">pic.twitter.com/lveW0WP1fD</a>
"It sounds like there's multiple layers to this. ... But certainly one of them is Deebo Samuel wants to be a receiver and not a receiver/running back. His rushing attempts were significantly up last season from where they've been in the past. We all know that he's a really, really physical player, but there probably are some concerns here about longevity. The counterpoint to that, of course, is that part of the reason that Deebo Samuel is so valuable is because he's versatile. ... But in the big picture, it sounds like the role is part of the reason that Deebo wants to play someplace else, where he may just be able to be a true wide receiver and potentially tack on some years to his career."
Rapoport previously reported that money was not at the root of Samuel's trade request.
It's unclear what exactly led to the request, but Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin revealed on 95.7 The Game's Damon & Ratto it was legitimate and that Samuel told him the reason, which he would not divulge (h/t Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area).
"This is not a game. He really wanted to be moved. I had conversations with him, and I knew the [details] on why that came about. He shared that with me, and I won't violate and share that. But when he did share it, I felt it when he explained it to me. I felt it. So he wanted to be moved."
Regardless of why Samuel wanted out, it's a moot point now with the superstar now under contract through 2025.
Last season, Samuel earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after amassing 1,770 yards and 14 touchdowns. He caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and rushed 59 times for 365 yards.
Samuel was the de facto No. 2 running back for the 49ers throughout the playoffs, to the point where he even had more carries (27) than catches (10). In three games, the three-year NFL veteran had 291 total yards and two scores.