NFL players have a lot of money on the line in the 2020 season. Without force majeure language in the league's new coronavirus protocols, players could lose all of their 2020 salary if the season is canceled. But if one game is played, players are entitled to their entire base salary for the season.
So understandably, players like 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman are going to be diligent in order to preserve their paychecks. But Sherman, unlike some around the league, isn't worried about his young teammates potentially compromising the health of the 49ers' locker room.
“I think going to the Super Bowl and having that expectation this year and having that goal at the forefront and having that sour taste in their minds is going to discipline them in a way that that few other things can,” Sherman told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. “That’s why you play the game.”
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Sherman also pointed out the potential benefits of the 49ers' team facility being in a relatively quiet area as far as NFL markets go.
“It’s not like we’re in Miami or in Houston or in Las Vegas or somewhere where the nightlife is crazy and the distractions are immense,” he said. “No offense to Santa Clara. But I think that works to our benefit. I think the young guys coming in are disciplined and hungry, and they will not let the season be derailed by a lack of discipline.”
Although San Francisco and Oakland have their spots, players in the Bay Area don't face nearly the same level of distraction as those in places like Sherman mentioned.
Santa Clara County also has been behind much of the rest of the country in terms of reopening amid the pandemic, so even the minimal nightlife that exists in the immediate area has been greatly dissipated.
The 49ers are a veteran-laden team, and after a run to the Super Bowl a season ago, the players firmly understand the expectations they face in 2020.