49ers cornerback Jason Verrett nearly retired after tearing Achilles


49ers cornerback Jason Verrett nearly retired after tearing Achilles

When on the field, Jason Verrett has looked the part of a former first-round NFL draft pick. The problem is, actually being on the field has been few and far between. 

The Chargers selected Verrett with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2014 draft out of TCU. Since then, however, he's only played in 25 career games. Verrett missed the entire 2018 season after suffering a torn Achilles while running a conditioning test before training camp. Verrett only played in one game due to a knee injury in 2017 and only four in 2016. 

His skills are still worthy of taking a chance on though, and the 49ers did just that by signing him to a one-year, $3.6 million contract this past offseason. But that nearly never happened, as Verrett admitted on Wednesday he contemplated retirement after his injury last year. 

"When it happened, I had definitely thought about retiring, for sure," Verrett said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I just worked so hard coming back from the devastating knee injury that I had experienced. ... It was definitely devastating, real hard to deal with. I was in a dark place for a few months."

Verrett complimented the 49ers' training staff and said he will "for sure be ready for the season." He's sticking with the team's plan and said he ultimately couldn't give up on himself or football as a whole. 

"It's been a tough journey. I ain't gonna lie to you. It's been tough. Some long nights for me. Smile now, cry later type of thing for me," Verrett said. "Knowing what I'm capable of doing and the love I've got for the game, I just couldn't give up on it.

"I'm just excited that the 49ers gave me a chance."

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Verrett, 27, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015. That year he had three interceptions and 12 passes defensed in 14 games for the Chargers. 

If he can stay healthy, the 49ers expect Verrett to compete for a job as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

Kicker Robbie Gould and the 49ers remain in a holding pattern, and Gould said the only motivating factor at this stage of his NFL career is his family.

Gould, 36, spent most of the 2018 season away from his wife and three young boys while serving his second season as the 49ers’ kicker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Gould has deep roots in Chicago, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career. On Monday, he hosted the Robbie Gould Celebrity Golf Invitational at Medinah Country Club to raise funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“This city’s been incredible,” Gould told NBC Sports Chicago. “No matter where I’ve gone, no matter where I’ve lived, no matter where I’ve played, Chicago has always been home.”

The Bears released Gould just prior to the start of the regular season in 2016. The move came back to haunt them, as Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts the past two seasons with the 49ers.

Gould expected to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the 49ers tagged him as their franchise player. Gould has requested a trade, but the 49ers have stated they will not trade him.

He has yet to sign the one-year, $4.971 million tender, and he remained away from the 49ers during the offseason program.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

The 49ers have stated they would like to sign Gould to an extension. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new multi-year deal. Gould’s scheduled salary does not begin paying him until Week 1 of the regular season -- in the amount of more than $290,000 per week.

The Bears have a need at kicker after releasing Cody Parkey following his potential game-winning kick in the final seconds was partially blocked in a first-round NFL playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Gould was in attendance at Soldier Field that day.

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“You want every kicking friend or every kicker in the National Football League to do well,” Gould said. ‘It’s a fraternity. You obviously want him to make it. As a kicker, you can feel for him, for sure.”

The Bears currently have two kickers under contract: Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Gould said he is not following the Bears’ situation. Instead, he said he is focusing spending time with his family and going through his daily workouts.

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills


Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

Cornerback Jason Verrett did not take part in the 49ers’ practices during the offseason program with the plan of being ready to compete for a starting job when training camp opens in July.

After missing all of last season with a torn Achilles sustained in a conditioning test at the opening of Los Angeles Chargers training camp, Verrett appears on pace to be cleared at or near the beginning of camp this summer.

Verrett on Monday posted videos to his Instagram account that show him going near full speed in change-of-direction drills. During the last week of the team’s offseason program, Verrett said he expected to be ready for training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to report to camp on July 27.

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”

Verrett, who turned 28 last week, has played in just 25 games since breaking into the NFL in 2014 as the 25th overall draft pick of the Chargers.

He was limited to just six games because of a shoulder injury as a rookie. After appearing in 14 games in 2015 and earning a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team, Verrett sustained a partial tear of his ACL and played in just four games in 2016.

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In the first game of 2017, Verrett reinjured his knee and sat out the remainder of the season. Verrett missed all of last season with the injury he sustained on the first day of training camp.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong offseason program as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett is expected to compete with Witherspoon for a starting job.