49ers

Weston Richburg looks ahead to 2019 as stressful first 49ers season ends

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USATSI

Weston Richburg looks ahead to 2019 as stressful first 49ers season ends

SANTA CLARA – Weston Richburg admits it has been a stressful season.

He signed a lucrative long-term contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. Richburg has put pressure on himself. And although the coaching staff thinks highly of him, an analytics service rates him 30th among qualifying NFL centers.

Throughout the season, the losses have taken a toll, but so has a knee injury that he has battled since Week 4.

Richburg was in pass protection against the Los Angeles Chargers early in the season. As quarterback C.J. Beathard got rid of the ball, right tackle Mike McGlinchey struggled to keep up with edge rusher Melvin Ingram. McGlinchey fell and rolled up on Richburg’s left knee.

Richburg hobbled off, but returned to the game. He was listed as “questionable” for four of the next five weeks. He missed only one game.

“I don’t feel very good,” Richburg said at his locker Friday, as the 49ers prepare for their final game of the season on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

He said he is not sure whether he will require surgery in the offseason.

“We’ll figure out what needs to happen, but it’s been very stressful trying to play games against good talent,” Richburg said.

[RELATED: Kittle gets gift from Chiefs star as both chase NFL history]

Richburg admits to placing a lot of pressure on himself to play up to the five-year contract worth up to $47.5 million he signed with the 49ers after four seasons with the New York Giants.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “You’re playing on a bigger contract. You’re playing in a new place, so you want to be perfect. The reality of it is, you’re not going to be perfect. I’m fortunate I came to a place with people like this that make it a more enjoyable experience to work. But we want to win. That’s the thing. That’s what we have to get done.”

Shanahan said Richburg's run-blocking was as good as any center he has coached early in the season. He complimented Richburg's commitment to play through a nagging knee injury. Although Richburg is among the lowest-rated centers according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, Shanahan said he likes what he has seen.

“I know that I’m happy with him,” Shanahan said. “[That] doesn’t mean that there’s not room to grow. I think he could play better, too, especially the way he started out the year. We’ve got to find out a way to make that last throughout the whole year. I think we’ve got a very good center who is only going to get better.”

Shanahan’s offense put a lot on the plate of the team’s center. In addition to being the quarterback of the offensive line with making adjustments, there are difficult physical responsibilities that PFF has no way of recognizing, he said.

“I’m not trying to bash anyone, but there is a lot that’s not known about scheme and assignments," Shanahan said. "We’re given numbers where people who have no idea what O-line play is, judge people off numbers that they see. And, then, opinions are formulated on guys that are sometimes unfair.”

The 49ers’ offensive line appears mostly set for next season, with Richburg, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, and left guard Laken Tomlinson returning. Right guard Mike Person is scheduled to be a free agent.

“I am excited about that because I think we’ll have a better grasp of the system,” Richburg said. “I’ll be able to understand it better after going through a whole year of games. I think we’ll be able to be a little more creative and be more player-run because we’ll have more experience in it. I am excited about that aspect of it.”

Watch George Kittle wreak havoc in run game during youth football days

Watch George Kittle wreak havoc in run game during youth football days

Watching George Kittle run with the ball is something of beauty -- and he's been doing it for a long time now.

His wife, Clair, posted on her Instagram story some old-school footage of the 49ers' two-time Pro-Bowl tight end wreaking havoc during his youth football games:

He was running well before he got paid to do it. 

Last season, Kittle ran for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns and was a big part of the success in the Super Bowl LIV run. 

While the 49ers ultimately fell to the Chiefs in the Big Game, Kittle made a promise to ensure he, and the rest of the 49ers, will be back and will get "vengeance."

[RELATED: Kittle tops PFF's best of 2019]

It's nice to see where it all began. The guy is a freak on the field and we're lucky some of us just get to watch and don't have to keep up. 

49ers' Richard Sherman defends Darius Slay during Lions trade rumors

49ers' Richard Sherman defends Darius Slay during Lions trade rumors

Richard Sherman is back on Twitter, and the 49ers star is here to defend a fellow Pro Bowl cornerback. 

Sherman, who has been an advocate for fellow players, is all for Slay defending himself amid rumors the Detroit Lions are looking to trade him

Slay responded to a tweet that showed he has led the NFL in passes defensed since 2017 with 56. Slay reminded everyone that he actually has led the league in that category since 2014, his second professional season. 

Since 2014, Slay has recorded at least two interceptions and 13 passes defensed every season. He led the NFL in interceptions (8) and passes defensed (26) in the 2017 season.

Sherman was ripped by many in the media when he and his wife negotiated his own contract with the 49ers. The former Seattle Seahawk signed a three-year, $39 million contract in March 2018, four months after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

[RELATED: How 49ers can add NFL draft picks, according to Peter King]

But Sherman has earned the last laugh. He received a $2 million contract bonus this past season by being named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Sherman now has earned all $4 million in incentives in his contract. He already triggered the $1 million bonus for being named to the Pro Bowl and $1 million for playing 90 percent of the snaps this season. 

Even if he never becomes teammates with Slay, Sherman rightfully will take the player's side when it comes to making a living for yourself.