Why Whitner disagrees with Rice’s 49ers rant after Deebo injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Deebo Samuel‘s ankle injury in the 49ers’ blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium has elicited many opinions on the play, including one of derision from legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice.
However, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Donte Whitner sees it differently.
Speaking with Rod Brooks and Carlos Ramirez on “49ers Postgame Live,” the former safety explained why he doesn’t “agree” with Rice’s criticism of San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan’s play call.
“Football is football,” Whitner said after the game. “You can’t say, ‘Hey, let’s give him the ball and he won’t get injured.’
“Deebo Samuel was built for that type of contact. He just got tangled up a little bit differently.”
“So, I don’t agree with Jerry,” Whitner continued. “I think that in football, you have to run up the middle, you have to be able to run outside, or the defense will be able to key in and stop those key plays.”
The play in question occurred late in the first half when the 26-year-old wide receiver received a hand-off and ran up the middle. He fumbled after gaining three yards, and his left leg was rolled up by the Bucs’ defense.
Though Samuel initially was listed as questionable to return with a knee injury, the 49ers officially ruled him out for the rest of the game with an ankle injury shortly after the second half started.
Shanahan told reporters afterward that Samuel most likely had a “high ankle sprain,” though the exact time the “wide back” will miss is yet to be determined.
49ers fans have to be relieved knowing their star was able to avoid a severe injury. Rice, too, has to feel better knowing Samuel’s injury isn’t as bad as it first appeared.