Why 49ers' Richard Sherman continues to play with chip on his shoulder

Why 49ers' Richard Sherman continues to play with chip on his shoulder

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Nine seasons after being drafted in the fifth round, that chip on that landed squarely on Richard Sherman’s shoulder has yet to move. 

The 49ers veteran cornerback may have changed team colors and employers but the motivation remains the same. It almost seems that Sherman enjoys the fact that his demise has been greatly exaggerated. 

“When you get picked in the fifth round it’s the ultimate lack of respect,” Sherman said. “I don’t think you ever lose that no matter how much success you have, no matter how many accolades.” 

It’s been five years since the Sherman has received All-Pro honors and three since he has attended a Pro Bowl. Those goals are not only in his sights, but they are also incentives in his contract. 

Sunday’s pick-six in Tampa was a just a step on Sherman’s path back from the Achilles injury that cut short his final season with the Seahawks. It was his first interception as a member of the 49ers after tallying 32 over his seven seasons in Seattle.

Week 1 was also a step in regaining the respect that Sherman feels has waned since he was a member of the "Legion of Boom." He recognizes the shortened attention span of the NFL audience but that doesn’t mean he agrees with it. 

“They way people judge corners is so hot and cold,” Sherman said. “They are always looking for a new person to crown. I don’t think we have enough people respecting the guys who have done it for eight, nine, ten years. 

“I’ve seen every one-hit wonder, I’ve seen every flash in the pan. And then next year the guy is non-existent, and you just play through all that.” 

Opposing quarterbacks, however, clearly still respect Sherman as he was rarely tested on the field in 2018. Sherman’s value as a mentor and on-field coach to the young secondary -- Ahkello Witherspoon in particular -- might be his most important contribution. 

Sherman, however, doesn’t want his leadership qualities to be what he is most recognized for. Sunday was his first interception returned for a touchdown since 2013 and it inspired him to quote his favorite artist, Drake, on social media. 

Sherman has spoken about feeling much improved after the staples were removed from his ankle in February. Sunday’s performance allowed him to announce his return publicly. It proved to himself and fans alike that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

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“I needed to put it on tape and make an impact on the game and be able to change the game in a way that I’m used to doing.” 

Hopefully for 49ers fans, Week 1 was only the beginning. 

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.

The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.

Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said this week on “The Herd.” “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”

The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.

[RELATED: 49ers taking entire staff to Super Bowl]

When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.

When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.

No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.

Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

The 49ers will fly to Miami on Sunday to play in the NFL franchise’s seventh Super Bowl. Despite this being a semi-regular thing, CEO Jed York isn’t treating it that way.

York said Friday that he’s bringing all full-time staff to Miami for Super Bowl week and treating them to the game. He even mentioned bringing interns.

That’s, you know, a lot of people on the 49ers’ dime.

“We're taking a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that our entire staff had the opportunity to go,” York said in a meeting with local reporters. “Everybody from [head coach Kyle Shanahan to general manager John Lynch] all the way down to interns, everyone's been a part of this, and we wanted to make sure they're there to help and also celebrate the moment that hopefully gets us over the hump."

That’s an unusual benefit for support staff outside football operations, one that will allow everyone involved with the 49ers to enjoy a week basking in the team’s achievements leading up to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.

[RELATED: Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa]

The 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most in NFL history. The Chiefs are currently 1.5-point favorites in this clash of Titans.