San Francisco 49ers

Deebo Samuel’s incredible 2021 season puts him in a class of his own

Athletes in the Bay Area have a knack for setting new benchmarks previously thought to be impossible. From Jose Canseco starting the “40/40 Club” with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases for the Athletics in 1988, to Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry setting a new record with every 3-point shot made — while still in his prime.

There are more examples, too. But we have a late entry. It’s 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who created a club all his own during his masterful, highly-entertaining 2021 campaign. The emerging superstar finished his season with 1,559 receiving yards and 502 yards rushing, becoming the first player in NFL history to reach such heights.

Notice that Samuel had already made NFL history in 2021, according to David Lombardi’s tweet. I can fill in the blank, however — Samuel set the mark for most rushing touchdowns by a wide receiver in league history with eight, surpassing the previous record set by Colts legend Lenny Moore.

Can Samuel have the same type of season next year? Probably not, of course. His final tallies are kind of insane. But this was just his third year in the NFL so he’s only 26 years old. He may not reach the crazy heights of 2021 again, but he’ll still likely dominate in a 49ers uniform for years to come, with a contract extension undoubtedly in the works.

But for now, Samuel can bask in that Canseco, Curry type glow. And though he’s in a club of his own, he’s earned entry into the larger club of Bay Area sports record breakers, including Warriors guard Klay Thompson, with his 37-point quarter and 14-made 3-pointers in one game, both NBA records; Barry Bonds still holds the mark for most career home runs in MLB history; Oakland native and A’s legend Rickey Henderson owns the record for career stolen bases (by a mile); and 49ers icon Jerry Rice holds nearly every WR record known to man.

I’m sure I’m missing multiple accomplishments as well. But that’s sports in the Bay Area, for you. Samuel learned that quickly, and he seems to have been destined to represent the City by the Bay.

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