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Garoppolo's presence played huge role in Richard Sherman signing with 49ers

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AP

Garoppolo's presence played huge role in Richard Sherman signing with 49ers

Three-time first-team All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is now a member of the 49ers with a huge assist to the quarterback the organization signed to a record-setting deal earlier this offseason.

Sherman, acting as his own agent, signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on Saturday. He said the presence of Jimmy Garoppolo played a “huge part” in his desire to play for the 49ers. He also cited coach Kyle Shanahan’s prowess at putting together confounding offensive packages.

“He and Jimmy together will contribute to a lot of wins for this football team,” Sherman said Monday in a conference call. “And I think, defensively, I can bring a presence and a leadership that will stabilize and help this defense rise to prominence, as well.”

On Friday, Sherman was informed of his release from the Seattle Seahawks, the team for which he played his first seven NFL seasons. When Sherman’s name was distributed on the league’s personnel notice to each team, he said he immediately heard from Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch.

“I really appreciated that because it showed their commitment, their excitement at having a chance to bring me on board and really show me they were putting their best foot forward,” Sherman said.

That evening he and his fiancée dined in Los Gatos with Shanahan and his wife. He also met with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who served on Seattle’s coaching staff during Sherman’s first three years in the NFL.

Sherman, who has always played with an attitude, used the Seahawks’ decision to cut him as motivation to remain in the NFC West.

“I’ve always played that way, but this is kind of reigniting that gasoline fire that I’ve always had burning,” Sherman said. “It just threw a lot more gas on that and I’m thankful for this motivation and this inspiration.”

Sherman has always been particularly motivated to face the 49ers. He has been the main antagonist in a rivalry that Seattle has dominated, beginning with a victory over the 49ers in the NFC Championship game in January 2014. The Seahawks have defeated the 49ers in nine consecutive head-to-head meetings.

Sherman took particularly delight in tormenting his college coach, Jim Harbaugh, with whom he feuded during and after their time together at Stanford. Sherman said he will have no problem adjusting to now being a member of the 49ers.

“It had a lot more with Jim Harbaugh associated with it than with Shanahan and John Lynch,” Sherman said. “I think with Robert Saleh and Kyle at the helm, it there’s a lot of familiarity there, in terms of scheme I play in and the way they run that defense.

"I’ve spent a lot of time wearing a red jersey in the Bay, so I’m sure I’ll figure it out."

In one of the more memorable moments of Sherman’s ability to get under the skins of the 49ers and their fans, he ate turkey at the 50-yard line at Levi’s Stadium following a Thanksgiving night game in 2014.

Sherman said he never saw the incident as being disrespectful. Moreover, he said it was not even his idea. He was merely following the directions of an NBC-TV producer for the postgame show after the nationally televised game.

Sherman clearly envisions more national attention coming to the 49ers – in large part to the two key individuals on the team’s offensive side.

The 49ers were 5-0 in Garoppolo’s starts to close out the regular season.

“The way he played down the stretch was inspiring and incredible,” Sherman said of Garoppolo. “Quarterbacks can get hot for a limited amount of time. And the next year fall off the face of the earth and you never hear from them again. What I saw from him was consistency, I saw poise, I saw leadership. I saw respect of his teammates. I saw command of the offense and he’d only been there a few weeks.”

Sherman is also quite familiar with Shanahan’s offensive schemes from facing his teams with Washington, Atlanta and San Francisco.

“Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football -- he and Sean McVay,” Sherman said. “He’s always coming up with two or three concepts that we’d never seen and had no answer for outside of some bastardizations of our defense. And that was on the field, spur of the moment, having three or four All-Pro players who can adjust on the fly that way. “

Sherman said he expects to be ready for the opening of training camp after undergoing season-ending surgery on his right Achilles in mid-November. He clarified that the other procedure he had recently was to remove bone spurs from his left foot.

Building Raiders roster a 'team effort' for Gruden, McKenzie

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AP

Building Raiders roster a 'team effort' for Gruden, McKenzie

ORLANDO, Fla. – Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is a popular guy, widely respected among players and in NFL circles. The same can be said for his coordinators and many position coaches.

General manager Reggie McKenzie understands that. He used those assets to help recruit free agents to Oakland.

He also remains in close communication with those designing new Raiders schemes. Jon Gruden’s in charge of the offense, while coordinator Paul Guenther will install a new defense.

McKenzie is focused on getting guys they want, guys who will fit well within new schemes.

“One thing about Gruden is that I know exactly what he wants, which is great for me,” McKenzie said Monday in a meeting with Raiders beat writers at the NFL owners meetings. “I know exactly what is needed for his (offensive) system. It’s the same with (defensive coordinator Paul Guenther). I know exactly what kind of players they want at each position. That makes my job a lot easier, instead of trying to figure out what works best."

Raiders owner Mark Davis told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday that McKenzie plays a different role with Gruden in the mix, and that the head coach’s vision for the team is most important.

“That vision, and that direction is going to be helpful to Reggie more so than not,” Davis said. “I think they’ll work together very well.”

McKenzie agrees. He praised the level of communication with Gruden and his assistants and believes they executed an aggressive free-agency plan well working together.

“The communication is constant, and I’m not just talking about Coach Gruden,” McKenzie said. “I’m talking about the entire staff. It’s well-received.”

The Raiders signed 20 guys in free agency, with 16 new faces and four returners thus far, at least after Reggie Nelson’s deal becomes official in the coming days. McKenzie used the coaching staff to help close deals, and get guys they coveted.

“It’s a team effort, I’m telling you,” McKenzie said. “The good part about it, is that players want to come. Players want to be coached by our guys. When we can get coaches heavily involved in communicating with those guys and when we get those guys in the building, our coaches did a great job recruiting those (free-agent signings).”

Steph Curry's 30th birthday party was so epic that the Warriors cancelled Tuesday's practice

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Kevin Durant/Instagram

Steph Curry's 30th birthday party was so epic that the Warriors cancelled Tuesday's practice

Steph Curry turns 30 years old on Wednesday, but with the Warriors playing the Lakers, his friends and family decided to hold the party for him on Monday night.

Most of Curry's Warriors teammates attended the bash. Things must have gone late into the night because the team cancelled the planned practice for 11am on Tuesday.

Special guests included E-40, Paramore  and Lecrae. Curry himself took a turn on the mic and belted out a few bars.

Based on the videos from the party, it appears Curry may have gotten a small yacht for a present.

Don't feel bad that you weren't invited. There were enough videos posted on Instagram Stories by Steph, his wife Ayesha, his sister Sydel, his brother Seth and E-40, among others. Check out some of the best here: