Jerry Rice calls out 49ers for Deebo Samuel, other injuries

Former San Francisco 49er and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Former San Francisco 49er and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Jerry Rice isn’t too thrilled with how the 49ers have handled some of their best stars on offense, particularly Deebo Samuel running up the middle.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has been one of the architects of “positionless” football in recent seasons, and few players have epitomized that better than All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Yet a side effect of the increase in usage, both through the air and on the ground, is the inevitability of an injury setback, and that’s precisely what Samuel encountered during the Niners’ otherwise dominant Week 14 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On an inside run just before halftime, and with San Francisco already up big, Samuel went down with an ankle injury after two Bucs defenders landed on him. The injury required the cart to come out, and Samuel was visibly emotional while the rest of his teammates provided him comfort and support.

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was having none of it, and he took to Instagram to express his frustration with the dual-threat usage of players like Samuel, particularly up the middle.

Jerry Rice demands 49ers ‘stop running our skill players up the middle’

Not long after Samuel was carted off, Rice posted the following on his Instagram, shared by FanSided on Twitter:

It wasn’t just Samuel whom Rice was complaining about with regard to usage. Rice also mentioned how quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo are now both out for the long run with serious injuries.

Although Garoppolo isn’t exactly known for being an up-the-middle scrambler, except on 1-yard quarterback sneaks.

Lance, meanwhile suffered his own serious injury running up the middle way back in Week 2, and that generated plenty of complaints about how Shanahan dials up his offense. Yet part of what made Lance so unique is his ability to run at any point on the field, and that’s notably unique about Samuel, too.

Except that prowess ended up getting both players hurt, and Rice probably would like to see something else happen on offense instead.

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