49ers

Richard Sherman has 'no animosity' to 49ers after Jim Harbaugh left

Richard Sherman has 'no animosity' to 49ers after Jim Harbaugh left

Richard Sherman's hatred of the 49ers was well-documented. 

The cornerback relished beating San Francisco as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, making his decision to sign with the 49ers as a free agent in 2017 such a surprise. Sherman's disdain for the Niners didn't stem from their status as NFC West rivals, but from the man who coached San Francisco from 2011 through '14: Jim Harbaugh. 

"I wanted to put him out of the league," Sherman told reporters at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night (H/T Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber). "And once I got that done, I had no animosity toward the 49ers organization."

Harbaugh coached Sherman at Stanford University from 2007 through '10. Sherman told NBC Sports Bay Area in October that Harbaugh said the Compton native quit on his Cardinal teammates by undergoing season-ending surgery in 2008. Sherman was granted a medical redshirt for that season, but Harbaugh wouldn't let the then-wide receiver -- who led Stanford in receiving yards as freshman and sophomore -- play on offense during his redshirt junior season. Falling to the fifth round (No. 154 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Sherman felt Harbaugh didn't help him in the draft process, either.

Sherman's Seahawks lost their first three games against Harbaugh's 49ers, but they quickly turned the tide in the rivalry. They won five of the last six matchups, including an infamous 2013 NFC Championship Game victory that featured Sherman calling Michael Crabtree -- another target of his ire -- a "sorry" wide receiver after Sherman tipped the game-deciding interception to linebacker Malcolm Smith.

Harbaugh lasted just one more regular season after that loss, "mutually parting ways" with the 49ers after an 8-8 season that included two lopsided losses to Sherman's Seahawks. He returned to the collegiate ranks to coach at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, and he hasn't returned to the NFL since. 

[RELATED: Sherman explains why 49ers' defense is so tough to beat]

Though Sherman is a Stanford alum, there's a good chance his second-favorite team on college football Saturdays is whoever Harbaugh's playing. 

Sherman also compared himself to Luke Skywalker on Monday, but this is hardly the Jedi way.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.
 

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa might have been the best player in last year’s draft, but the top spot went to a quarterback to fill a need for the team with the No. 1 overall pick.

Things could very well go the same way this year, with the Cincinnati Bengals taking quarterback Joe Burrow with the first selection.

That would leave the consensus top player, Chase Young, for Washington at No. 2.

Again, that player is a defensive end. Again, that player is a defensive end from Ohio State.

“Nick, he's always setting the standard,” Young said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “That's just motivation for me to achieve a lot of real good things.

“It's definitely been a blessing to watch him grow into the player that he is. He's definitely helped me along this passage. He hasn't stopped. I'm just grateful to be able to see him grow.”

The 49ers selected Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick last year after the Arizona Cardinals went with quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1.

Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season and four more in the postseason. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He and Young also have been in contact as Young goes through the same process Bosa experienced a year ago.

“He just told me to be myself,” Young said. “That's what I have been trying to do the whole time I've been here.”

Young, like Bosa, declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He enters the draft after compiling a more impressive college career than Bosa, who was hampered by injuries throughout his time at Ohio State.

In 34 college games, Young registered 30.5 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss. Last season, he had 16.5 sacks, all of which came in the first nine games of the season. In 29 games at Ohio State, Bosa had 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

[RELATEDBosa intuitively drawn to sport that shaped his life, NFL draft future]

Bosa’s brother, Joey, went to Ohio State, where he was coached by defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Nick Bosa did not have much of a decision where to attend college because the family was already sold on Johnson’s ability to groom defensive linemen.

“I think the technique that ‘Coach J’ teaches in college works in the NFL as well,” Young said. “I'll continue to perfect my technique. The toolbox that I have now, I know that it'll bring me success in the NFL. That's one thing that I took from Nick and Joey.”

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

The 49ers saw firsthand how a blazing-fast receiver like Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs can change a game when Hill's deep catch on third-and-15 swung the momentum in Super Bowl LIV. Henry Ruggs, believe it or not, might be even faster. 

As San Francisco looks to upgrade its receivers for coach Kyle Shanahan's motion-heavy offense, a speedster like Ruggs could be a game-changer. The Alabama receiver said Thursday that he has met with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Ruggs put on an absolute show Thursday at the combine. After measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 40-yard dash. That is the fastest among receivers this year, and the best time thus far at the combine. His time also is tied with current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, who could be on his way out of San Francisco, as the fourth-fastest at the combine since 2006.

That was just the start of Ruggs' big day, too. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical leap and had a 10'11" broad jump. His athleticism simply is off the charts. 

Ruggs joins a growing list of receivers the 49ers have met with at the combine. But it seems highly unlikely he will be available for the NFC champions. The 49ers own the No. 31 pick in the draft this year, and a handful of teams ahead of them make sense as a landing spot for Ruggs. 

[RELATED: Baylor receiver Mims believes his skills match with 49ers]

Before the combine, Ruggs was selected No. 18 overall by the Miami Dolphins in our latest mock draft. It would be a big surprise to see him fall past the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 overall.

It's clear the 49ers are doing their due diligence on a loaded receiver class and could be eyeing a future star at the end of the first round. Adding Ruggs would be gold to Shanahan's offense.