San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was carted off the field during Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after suffering a potentially devastating ankle injury. Hall of Famer and 49ers great Jerry Rice was not happy and expressed his displeasure on social media.
Rice took issue with San Francisco's play-calling, as he posted a photo of Samuel on Instagram with a caption that read, "Please stop running our skill player up the middle" and tagged Samuel and injured quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Samuel went down with the injury with just over five minutes left in the second quarter when he carried the ball up the middle and was bent awkwardly after being tackled, which caused him to fumble the ball. He was visibly upset after being placed on the cart, with teammates consoling him before he was taken to the locker room.
Samuel's injury is yet another blow to the 49ers offense. After losing Lance to a broken ankle in Week 2, Garoppolo went down with a broken foot last week and will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.
The versatile Samuel is used in a variety of ways within San Francisco's offense. Entering Sunday's game, he totaled 776 scrimmage yards with two receiving touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He's not on the same pace that earned him first-team All-Pro honors in 2021, but he's still an integral part of the team's success.
Samuel's role played a factor in negotiations for his contract extension this offseason. After not receiving an offer he deemed suitable for a player of his caliber, he reportedly requested a trade. The 26-year-old eventually agreed to a three-year, $73.5 million extension with $58.1 million guaranteed.
The 49ers are in first place in the NFC West, but losing Samuel for any amount of time would be detrimental to the team's chances of maintaining its spot.