49ers release safety Antoine Bethea

49ers release safety Antoine Bethea

The 49ers on Tuesday announced the release of safety Antoine Bethea.

Bethea, 32, becomes the second veteran to be released by the 49ers this week. On Monday, the 49ers informed wide receiver Torrey Smith of his release.

“Antoine is a true professional in every sense and I have a great deal of respect for the way he has gone about his business throughout his career,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “We would like to thank him for the positive impact he has had on this team both as a player and as a leader, on and off the field. We wish Antoine, and his family, great success in the future.”

Bethea signed a four-year, $21 million contract with the 49ers in 2014. In his first season with the club, he was named the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as the 49ers’ most valuable player.

After his season was cut short after seven games due to an injury in 2015, Bethea rebounded to start all 16 games last year. He led the team in tackles.

But the 49ers determined Bethea, who was scheduled to earn $5.25 million in base salary in 2017, was not a good system fit for the 49ers’ new defensive scheme.

Last week, 49ers general manager John Lynch spoke optimistically about Jimmie Ward being able to transition to play free safety in the defense that coordinator Robert Saleh will install. The 49ers also believe Jaquiski Tartt, with limited responsibilities, could thrive as the strong safety. Eric Reid, a first-round draft pick in 2013, has started all 57 games in which he appeared in his first four seasons.

Bethea entered the NFL in 2006 as a sixth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts. He spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Colts, earning two trips to the Pro Bowl.

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”