After being the face of the Legion of Boom for a majority of his career, corner Richard Sherman decided to turn in the blue and green and head down south to San Francisco.
The highly controversial defensive back found himself in a sticky situation with the Seattle Seahawks, as a high salary cap number combined with an Achilles injury forced the hand of GM John Schneider.
Sherman and the 49ers were a perfect match at the time – a young, competitive team in need of a veteran presence in the secondary, who were willing to offer an incentive-laden deal. While the 49ers’ season has been a long grind, with multiple key injuries on offense, Sherman’s output on defense continues to show why he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The former Stanford corner has been special in his nine starts, racking up four passes defensed, 24 tackles and a quarterback hit. While his overall numbers may be down from years’ past, opposing offenses are also targeting Sherman’s side of the field far less. Teams have been attacking the corner opposite to Sherman – second-year player Ahkello Witherspoon.
As Sherman returns to Seattle for the first time this season since his heavily discussed departure, he had a lot to offer during Thursday’s press conference with the media.
“You just expect after you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you while you’re hurt,” Sherman said. “It’s kind of more of a respect thing than anything, but they did, so you have got to kind of roll with the business.
The 49ers’ corner has often been outspoken about the business-minded approach that Seattle took last summer with the expiring veteran contracts, parting ways with defensive end Michael Bennett, safety Kam Chancellor and forcing safety Earl Thomas’ hand in a holdout.
Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll also commented on the situation, adding “Sherm had to do what he had to do,” Carroll said. “He had to change allegiance and get tuned into his new team, and whatever took place was OK. I didn’t care.”
Former teammate Doug Baldwin also chimed in, yet seemingly had a different take than Carroll on the situation, “I don’t know the business aspect of it,’’ he said. “Do I think he could be here? Yes, I do think he could be here. Again, I’m not the GM (general manager). I’m not the head coach. I’m not the owner. So that’s above my pay grade.”
While Sherman sets to return to CenturyLink Field for the first time in a different jersey, many 49ers’ fans will be looking to see how Seahawks’ players, fans and coaches will treat their former beloved.