The circumstances that prevented the San Francisco 49ers from advancing in an otherwise strong season add up quickly.
Those instances made it hard for wide receiver Deebo Samuel to be around the Vince Lombardi Trophy during an interview on the Rich Eisen Show. Samuel couldn’t even look at the hardware that gets handed off to the Super Bowl champions every year, but he did it for Eisen.
“Being close three years of the four, it kind of felt like this year was our time to do it,” Samuel said on Thursday. “What a coincidence what happened to Brock [Purdy] and also Josh [Johnson], you know what I’m saying? Not being able to finish the game without a quarterback.”
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 9, 2023
Purdy injured his throwing elbow early on in the NFC Championship Game blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles. Soon after that, Johnson suffered a concussion. Despite Purdy’s return to the game, he was limited and couldn’t throw. He has since suffered a torn UCL that will sideline him for six months.
Samuel went as far as to say he didn’t believe the 31-7 loss to the Eagles was a real game. A statement 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (who sustained a severe ankle injury earlier in the season) made on Wednesday.
“At the end of the day, all you want to do is have a chance, if that makes sense,” Samuel added. “But after losing both quarterbacks, that chance goes slim to none so, knowing we can’t pass the ball and already down 14, knowing that you have to pass the ball — and you’re not going to run the ball 70 times to kind of get back in the game, that’s not how the game works.”
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The Pro Bowler knew how solid his defense was during the regular season and the games that followed. He complimented how poised and humble Purdy was throughout it all. After being thrown into the pocket, picking up where an injured Lance, and eventually Jimmy Garoppolo left off.
“Injuries with come with this sport, it’s a contact sport,” Samuel. “Being in this league you see it a lot.”
Samuel finished the season with five total touchdowns and 864 yards.
Next year, it’ll be different, Samuel says. With Lance back and healthy. The young quarterback still wants it.
“That just shows you the type of person Trey is, just knowing the 12-streak that Brock came off of, I mean, nothing is going to be handed to any quarterback that comes in. Kyle’s going to make sure everybody gets a fair chance to compete to be the guy that runs the offense.”