49ers GM: WR Deebo Samuel ‘has a shot’ to play in opener

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch says starting receiver Deebo Samuel “has a shot” to play in the season opener after being sidelined all summer by a broken foot.

Samuel broke his foot in June during informal workouts with teammates in Tennessee and hasn’t been able to practice since. The 49ers activated him from the non-football injury list on Saturday as part of the roster cut down.

Lynch said Sunday that the team will get together with doctors and training staff on Tuesday to determine the plan for Samuel ahead of the opener next Sunday against Arizona.

“Deebo has done a fantastic job,” Lynch said. “We got to see how hard Deebo was working. I’m a huge believer that when you get injured and you’re already in great shape, you tend to heal quicker. Deebo has continued that tremendous work ethic and has remained very positive and upbeat and resolute in his want to be back on the field right away. That goes a long way. We’re hopeful but I don’t have an answer, because we don’t know it yet.”

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Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three TDs last season and also made big contributions in the running game. He had 14 carries for 159 yards and three scores.

Samuel then made a big impact in the postseason with 10 catches for 127 yards and six runs for 102 yards in three games. He had five catches for 39 yards and three carries for 53 yards in San Francisco’s 31-20 loss to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

The 49ers also signed their 16-player practice squad Sunday that included two former top 10 draft picks to their practice squad.

The Niners signed receiver Kevin White and defensive end Dion Jordan to the expanded squad. White was picked seventh overall by Chicago in 2015 and Jordan went third to Miami in 2013. Both players failed to live up to that billing, but could have a shot this year with the 49ers.

All 16 players the 49ers signed to the squad spent some time in the team’s camp this summer and have familiarity with the system, including safety Johnathan Cyprien and seventh-round rookie receiver Jauan Jennings.

Cyprien had played well but expressed reluctance of being on a practice squad after starting 71 games since entering the league in 2013. But coach Kyle Shanahan talked to him earlier in the week and he opted to stay with the team after being cut Saturday.

Jennings showed flashes at camp, but didn’t make the initial roster after starter Samuel was activated.

Practice squads were expanded to 16 players because of the pandemic and there were allowances for six vested veterans to be on the squad this season. Teams will be able to designate four players each week who can’t be poached by opposing teams and can elevate two players to the active roster each week without having to put them through waivers to go back to the practice squad. Each player can only be elevated twice in the season.

The other players signed Sunday are defensive backs Tim Harris Jr., Dontae Johnson and Jared Mayden; offensive linemen Hroniss Grasu, Dakoda Shepley and William Sweet; running backs JaMycal Hasty and Josh Hokit; tight end Chase Harrell; linebacker Joe Walker; receiver River Cracraft; and defensive lineman Darrion Daniels.

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