The most unlikely reunion in the NFL may just be former Seattle Seahawks Malcolm Smith and Richard Sherman joining forces on the San Francisco 49ers defense. Their “relationship,” however, goes back further than that. They were rivals in the PAC12, with Sherman at Stanford and Smith at USC. Sherman is a year older but Smith even heard about Sherman’s talent while in high school.
Smith, who was held off the field due to a season ending pectoral injury in 2017, said not being able to play brought it’s own set of challenges, and he can’t wait to get back at it. Sherman joining him in Santa Clara makes it even more exciting. Smith did confirm that he is 100% and will be a full participant in the offseason program.
Smith and Sherman have stayed close throughout the years, initially bonding as rookies in 2011 in Seattle. Smith did note that Sherman was just as vocal on the field in college as he is in the NFL. He has since put the past behind him and looks forward to bringing the same spirit they had in the Pacific Northwest to the 49ers and looks back on their previous time together with fondness: “We did some awesome things together in Seattle.”
When asked how Seattle was able to sustain keeping such a high quality product on the field, as opposed to rebuilding, Smith says that starts by building culture with the young players and making sure veterans buy into belief system as well. A great scheme on both sides of the ball is also essential and he believes that the 49ers have all of that.
Smith was playing very well before he was sidelined in training camp last season and he credits the communication of the coaching staff which keeps everyone on the same page. He also believes that the staff puts them in the best positions to be successful. The coaching staff is one of the reasons that he signed with the 49ers. While he may never have thought playing with Sherman on a division rival team would happen, it’s part of the business and adds that they “are football players first.”