Kyle Shanahan calls Deebo Samuel “a special player” who can do it all

Deebo Samuel said after last season he was “caught by surprise” when the 49ers committed to giving him the ball more as a running back after Week 9. Whatever reservations he might have had about his role disappeared when he signed a three-year, $71.55 million contract extension Sunday.

As part of the contract, Samuel has annual incentives of up to $650,000 tied to rushing.

“So much stuff comes out and you hear things,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked if Samuel’s role was an issue in contract negotiations, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “And I have respect for all that. But what I’ve learned throughout my career, especially when there’s big decisions coming, is that if you pay attention to everything you will go crazy.

“That’s why I pride myself on — just talk to the person. And what comes out of that person’s mouth is usually what I hang my hat on. That’s kind of all I go with. So I don’t really listen to anything expect the communications I have with the individual.”

Unsurprisingly, Shanahan didn’t go into great detail about how the 49ers will use Samuel this season. But Samuel still will remain in the “wide back” hybrid role.

“You can’t do that with anybody,” Shanahan said. “You have to do that with a special player, and Deebo is a special player. That’s why he’s earned this contract that he’s got, and that’s why I think he’s going to continue to earn it going forward.”

Including the postseason, Samuel had 87 catches, 86 carries and seven kickoff returns.