49ers’ Pro Bowl nods: Deebo Samuel snaps wide receiver drought

NASHVILLE — From T.O. to Deebo, the 49ers finally have another Pro Bowl wide receiver after a 17-year drought.

Deebo Samuel is the first 49ers wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl since Terrell Owens, way back in 2003.

Teammates joining Samuel with Pro Bowl honors are defensive end Nick Bosa, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tight end George Kittle and left tackle Trent Williams.

That comprises the 49ers’ largest contingent since 2013, when nine Niners made the Pro Bowl.

Samuel’s candidacy certainly wasn’t hurt by his physical rushing ability, all en route to his first career Pro Bowl. He finished second behind the Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams (Palo Alto High) in fan voting, which comprises a third of the election process that also factors in players’ and coaches’ votes.

Adams indeed made the Pro Bowl, and the NFC’s other wide receivers are Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams) and Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings).

Samuel has run for a touchdown in his past five games, and the 49ers (8-6) have won all five of those games; he missed a Dec. 5 loss at Seattle during the team’s second-half surge because of a groin injury.

He’s already produced the first 1,000-yard season by a 49ers wide receiver since Anquan Boldin in 2014. Samuel has five touchdowns among his 61 catches for 1,088 yards entering Thursday night’s game at the Titans.

So now Samuel is nine Pro Bowls behind Jerry Rice and two back of Owens, but he’s equaled as many as Dwight Clark.

A second-round draft pick in 2019, Samuel is eligible for a contract extension after this season, and it’s believed that will be the 49ers’ top in-house priority, unless they’re already willing to make Bosa the NFL’s highest-paid defender despite his contract running through 2023 with the fifth-year option.

Bosa, with a career-high 15 sacks, regained Pro Bowl acclaim after missing almost all of last season after a Week 2 ACL tear. No NFL defender drew more fan votes online than Bosa this season.

This marks Williams’ ninth Pro Bowl selection and Juszczyk’s sixth consecutive.

Kittle stumped strongly on behalf of Williams last week, and Williams returned the compliment during a heartfelt media session Tuesday.

“He’s the best tight end in the world, but he’s an even better teammate, not even going off the support he shows for me but going back years the support he shows for Jimmy and for everybody else on the team,” Williams said Thursday. “It shows the type of guy he is and why the locker room chemistry is the way it is.”

What did Kittle say exactly about Williams’ “outrageous” spot in early voting among fans?

“The fact that Trent Williams is eighth in the Pro Bowl voting is absolutely insane,” Kittle said last week. “He’s probably the most talented player in football. Trent Williams and Nick Bosa are by far two of the most talented players to step on a football field.”

“I know Nick is No. 1, he’s going to be fine, he’s going to get all the accolades and all that. The lack of respect that Trent Williams gets I think is outrageous.. You just watch film, every single game, every single clip, he just dominates every single person that across from him. The fact that he’s not talked about more because we’re 7-6 or something like that is outrageous. He’s a hell of a football player and needs way more recognition.”

Such Pro Bowl recognition eluded linebacker Fred Warner, a year after he made First Team All-Pro.

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