49ers

Richard Sherman floats conspiracy theory for pass interference penalties

Richard Sherman floats conspiracy theory for pass interference penalties

Very rarely do people admit they were in the wrong, especially in sports. When was the last time an NBA player committed a foul at a critical juncture and copped to it afterward?

The same is true of NFL players when a flag is thrown. There was never a hold or a pass interference.

In Richard Sherman's case, that's normally true.

Entering Sunday's Week 11 game against the Cardinals, the 49ers cornerback had been flagged just once for pass interference in nine games. But during the 49ers' 36-26 win at Levi's Stadium, Sherman was flagged three times for PI, all coming in the first half.

The first penalty especially was odd because it came on a challenge. Sherman tackled Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk before the ball arrived. There was no flag initially, but the Cardinals challenged and the call was reversed.

Overturned pass interference calls have been rare this season, so it made Sherman raise an eyebrow.

Three PI penalties and a nail-biting win over the Cardinals later, Sherman floated an interesting conspiracy theory about the flags tossed his way Sunday, pointing to his position on the NFL Players Association's Executive Committee. 

“I had three penalties on the season coming into this game, and to get three in a half is really interesting, especially with the way that the reversals have gone,” Sherman said Sunday in his postgame press conference. “I think there’s been probably over 100 PI challenges this year, and there’s been five, I think, reversals. And I’m two of them.

"I think being an E.C. member and part of that committee has its perks, and then it has its conversations where you’re the only one who gets overturned.

"But it is what it is. You deal with that in this league. I've been here long enough, I've played long enough to realize they call the game like that sometimes and you just got to overcome -- on to the next play, on to the next play, on to the next play. Let them deal with it later on. I'll let the league deal with it. I know the way the system works with referees and how they get the playoffs. They have a point system where they either got it right or they got it wrong, so the league will make the decision and tell me if they are right or wrong."

In fairness to the refs, that first one was 100 percent a penalty.

[RELATED: Where 49ers, Raiders sit in NFL power rankings after Week 11]

The 49ers overcame Sherman's penalties and a 16-point deficit to beat the Cardinals and move to 9-1, setting up a massive "Sunday Night Football" showdown with the Packers in Week 12.

If there's another PI reversal that goes against Sherman next week, you can bet he'll get the corkboard out and start trying to put the conspiracy puzzle pieces together.

NFL rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. wants to leave Browns after one season

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USATSI

NFL rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. wants to leave Browns after one season

The Odell Beckham Jr. era in Cleveland reportedly could be over after just one season.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported Sunday that the Browns receiver, who the 49ers pursued this offseason, wants out of Ohio. 

"[Throughout] this year, Odell Beckham has actually told other players and coaches before games, during games, 'Hey, come get me. Come get me out of here,'" Glazer said Sunday on "FOX NFL Sunday." "Remember: It was not Odell's choice to go to the Cleveland Browns. He got traded there. There now also is reports he needs sports hernia surgery. I've gotta say, I don't see that relationship ending well for them after this year."

The Browns acquired Beckham in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants this offseason, but things have not gone according to plan in Cleveland. Beckham as 57 catches for 805 yards and just two touchdowns this season, and Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot cited multiple sources describing the Browns' offense as "dysfunctional." 

As Glazer noted, Beckham reportedly is playing through a sports hernia. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Beckham will need surgery and he has mostly been limited in practices. 

Beckham remains under contract through 2024, after signing a massive extension with the Giants last August. His demand rather than his team's motivation to move him would drive a potential trade this offseason, and it's fair to wonder if changing circumstances on the 49ers' part would affect their interest. 

Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, tight end George Kittle and breakout defensive end Arik Armstead are all eligible to sign contract extensions this season. Armstead can become a free agent this offseason, while Kittle and Buckner can do the same in 2021. Whether or not the 49ers retain Armstead, it could prove difficult to bring in Beckham given San Francisco's existing salary commitments.

Over The Cap lists the 49ers as having just over $16 million in salary-cap room heading into the offseason. Parting ways with players such as injured running back Jerick McKinnon could free up space, but Beckham will carry a cap hit of at least $14.25 million in each of the next four seasons. It's also hard to envision Beckham wanting to restructure his deal after being surpassed by Julio Jones as the NFL's highest-paid receiver.

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season of PFF era]

The financial concerns are real, but a down season in a historically downtrodden organization shouldn't be what dissuades the 49ers from pursuing Beckham if he is made available or demands a trade. Kyle Shanahan's offense can't exactly be described as "dysfunctional." 

Beckham tweeted Friday that he didn't say he was unhappy in Cleveland, but that he is "hopeful for better results." Whether that hope takes him elsewhere will be a storyline to monitor all offseason. 

49ers center Weston Richburg carted off field in Week 14 vs. Saints

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AP

49ers center Weston Richburg carted off field in Week 14 vs. Saints

The 49ers lost a key to their offensive line with just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans. 

Center Weston Richburg was carted off the field with an injury to his right knee and ankle. Richburg's right leg got caught on guard Mike Person's left leg, causing the center's leg to awkwardly bend as he went to the ground. 

San Francisco officially ruled Richburg out for the game.

[RELATED: 49ers' Ford aggravates hamstring, ruled out vs. Saints]

The 49ers had 339 total yards to the Saints' 265 at the time of Richburg's injury, but they trailed 30-28. Ben Garland took over for Richburg, and the 49ers immediately scored a touchdown on their first drive without their starting center. 

The 49ers signed Richburg to a five-year contract in March 2018.