49ers

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

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AP

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

Richard Sherman's resume is as long as any other cornerback, but NFL analyst Peter Schrager believes the 49ers veteran is underrated. 

"I think Richard Sherman last year had a really good season," Schrager said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday. "The Achilles didn't seem to bother him all that much. And then when it mattered most, [he] was shutting down the No. 1 wide receivers in the league, and that was with a completely depleted defense and an offense that had an undrafted rookie named Nick Mullens keeping them afloat. I think Richard Sherman [is] still underrated." 

Sherman started 14 games in his first season with San Francisco, defending a career-low four passes and intercepting zero passes for the first time in his career. Those low counting stats would be concerning for a defensive back's first season in their 30s, even excluding the season-ending Achilles injury he sustained in 2017, but Sherman's production wasn't the same as his best years with the Seattle Seahawks in large part because NFL offenses didn't seem to underrate him. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman was targeted just once every 12.6 coverage snaps. No cornerback was avoided more than him, and Sherman also ranked first among corners in allowing a reception every 20.7 coverage snaps. In other words, opposing quarterbacks seemed to rate Sherman as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. 

[RELATED: 49ers have important conversations beginning during OTAs]

How long that continues is an open question. Sherman is entering his ninth year in the NFL and turned 31 in March. Twenty-eight defensive backs were 31 or older last NFL season, and only 12 of them were 32 or older. Sherman will be 33 if he finishes out the three-year deal he signed with the 49ers last year, and it seems likely he will be targeted more the older he gets. 

But until then, it's clear Sherman's opposition under center view him as one of the best cornerbacks in the league even if Schrager's punditry peers do not. 

Watch ex-49ers assistant Keanon Lowe disarm gunman at Portland school

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AP

Watch ex-49ers assistant Keanon Lowe disarm gunman at Portland school

It's a video that has gone viral of a moment an Oregon coach disarmed a student who entered a school possessing a firearm.

Keanon Lowe, a former 49ers assistant coach, now serves as the head football coach and security guard at Parkrose High School in Portland, Ore. He's also a hero after preventing a shooting when he embraced a gunman and caused them to surrender his weapon:

The gunman walked into one of the buildings at the school with a shotgun hidden under a jacket he was carrying in his arms on May 17.

“I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him," Lowe told reporters. "I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living.”

Lowe is also a former standout star wide receiver at the University of Oregon. 

“The universe works in amazing ways," Lowe added. "I’m lucky and I’m happy that I was in that classroom for all those kids and I was able to prevent that tragedy."

Nobody was injured in the events.

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How 49ers' George Kittle went from 'scrawny' receiver to elite tight end

How 49ers' George Kittle went from 'scrawny' receiver to elite tight end

George Kittle wasn’t always the hulking, 250-pound tight end that set the NFL single-season receiving mark for a the position in just his second NFL season.

When he showed up at the University of Iowa, Kittle was a 6-foot-2, 185-pound high school wide receiver with a strong work ethic. 

It was in Iowa City that Kittle’s body underwent a dramatic transformation.

"If you look at any of his high school photos, it will blow your mind," Kittle's mom Jan said.

"He was scrawny when he came to Iowa,” Kittle’s wife Claire said. “But I think that's kind of just how a lot of people are. So they grow into their body and they become the man that they're supposed to be.”

“He certainly embraced our program, he worked very hard,” Iowa Strength and Conditioning coach Chris Doyle told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Had to change his eating habits and change his lifestyle from that regard to kind of grow into just the process of becoming a Division I football player.”

In addition to growing several inches during his time with the Hawkeyes, Kittle put on a whopping 35 pounds during his college career.

“It's overwhelming every single time I see him,” Emma Kittle, George’s older sister, said. “Because he’s still George, and like my little brother. But like physically, he is a man.”

He certainly plays like a man on the field, as the 26-year-old has blossomed into one of the NFL’s top tight ends, even earning a second-team All-Pro designation after his breakout 2018 season.

The Kittle family certainly is not short on impressive athletes, as his father Bruce was also a tight end at Iowa and sister Emma was a Division I volleyball player at Iowa and Oklahoma. His mother Jan lettered in both basketball and softball at Drake University.

[RELATED: Kittle among players to watch vs. Washington]

While puberty may have set in a little later than most for George, his dedication to his craft has manifested itself as he now stands as the No. 1 receiving option on an undefeated 49ers team.

“I've witnessed everything that he's done so far and like all the hard work,” Emma said. “And so to see him succeeding at this level is like, he was born to do this. He was born to have the spotlight on him. He was born to have this type of pressure, like to carry people to work this hard.”