SANTA CLARA — 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is finally feeling like himself after a long road back from injury that started well before he was a member of the 49ers.
It’s been a few years since Sherman has been able to focus simply on working on the field during the offseason as opposed to concentrating on rehabbing an injury. Before Sherman tore his Achilles, he injured his MCL. Finally, he says, he feels healthy.
“First time in a few years that I’ve been able to move and groove like I want to,” Sherman said. “I had the MCL a few years ago, had the Achilles. This offseason I don’t have anything, thank goodness, and I’m just able to move and explode and just get to the spots I want to. I can stop when I want to stop, and go when I want to go. It changed the whole dynamic for me.”
Sherman explained that he already feels much more like his former self, even though it’s only the beginning of phase three of the offseason.
“I feel great,” Sherman said. “I’m moving good, I’m getting in and out of my breaks, my press is back to where it was. Not feeling the pain or inhibition that I was last year, so that’s a double thumbs up.”
Sherman fought through the restrictions of his injury throughout the 2018 season, admitting he wasn’t 100-percent.
“Not really,” Sherman said. “I got close to it near the end, once my conditioning got where it was supposed to be and the nagging kind of subsided to a degree. Once they took the little suture that they had in my heel out, then it kind of let me play the way I want to play.”
Sherman also explained how the mental limitations affected him on the field. Now he can move without having to determine if he would feel pain, or have any negative repercussions.
“I think it goes away when you don’t physically feel pain anymore,” Sherman said. “Then you know you can move when you want to. When you feel pain in certain movements you just don’t want to hurt it worse than it already is so you kind of baby it a little bit. You can never really move full speed when you have that kind of inhibition.”
The 49ers added to the secondary during the offseason with oft-injured free agent Jason Verrett and drafting Tim Harris in the sixth round. The team also focused more on bolstering their pass rush with the additions of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. Sherman believes that, in-and-of-itself, will improve the secondary.
“Rush and coverage always work together,” Sherman said. “The best years I’ve had in this league we’ve had a rush that substantially affected the quarterback on a daily basis. Regardless of if it’s sacks, they made him uncomfortable. It all helps each other.”