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San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel created his own position: ‘Wide back’

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – During a standard San Francisco 49ers practice, receiver Deebo Samuel has no shortage of things to do. With one notable exception.

Soon after the Niners wrap up stretching and transition to a special teams period, Samuel finds himself with no other slots but one in his daily practice schedule. With that time, Samuel sidles up to coach Kyle Shanahan for a chat.

It happens before every practice, and the topic of conversation ranges from how Samuel is feeling to the upcoming session to the next opponent. On a recent afternoon, Samuel brought up his son — Tyshun Raequan Samuel Jr. — who was born on Dec. 27 but is apparently already showing signs of following in his father’s footsteps.

“He’s 3 weeks old and he’s already holding his bottle by himself,” Shanahan said. “So, [Deebo] is just convinced that means he’s going to be a top pick in the draft.”

In those conversations, Shanahan and Samuel talk about, well, everything. This is only fitting because everything is what Samuel does for the 49ers and it’s also what he’s meant to them this season.

In his third NFL season, Samuel has emerged as a supernova, forcefully inserting himself into a different discussion about the game’s best offensive weapons. At times, he has also put the 49ers on his back, carrying them to the NFL divisional round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.

The thing about Samuel isn’t the amount of success he’s had but the number of ways he’s left opposing defenses in his cosmic dust.

While playing receiver, running back and, occasionally, quarterback, Samuel accounted for 15 total touchdowns on his way to earning first-team All-Pro honors for the first time. Samuel is aware of the unique job he has, even creating a name for it: wide back.

His 1,770 yards from scrimmage ranked third in the NFL.