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Despite tough season, Richard Sherman’s leadership remained invaluable in 2018

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With a young defensive backs’ room, Sherman’s wisdom and leadership was highly beneficial.

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

This past offseason, the Seahawks decided to release franchise corner Richard Sherman, due to salary cap issues, a high cap number for Sherman, and of course his Achilles injury. With a lack of veteran leadership in the 49ers’ locker room, general manager John Lynch brought in Sherman to become a leading voice with the younger players.

San Francisco signed Sherman to a three-year, incentive-laden deal that’s proving to be worth every penny for his on and off-field contributions. Returning from a torn Achilles, Sherman played in 14 games, racking up four passes defensed, 37 combined tackles and a recovered fumble.

Pro Football Focus rated the former Stanford defensive back with a 68.9 grade. Half-way through the season, PFF also added a stat that Sherman was only allowing a reception every 146 snaps.

While his on-field dominance continued this season, his off-field patience and leadership was tested amidst a 4-12 season that featured a turnstile at the cornerback position opposite to Sherman.

The ex-Seahawk decided to write a post a on his blog once the 49ers’ season ended, commenting on 2018.

The season is over and it was an interesting one for sure. Things definitely didn’t go how we wanted but that’s ok. This squad never gave up and this offseason will be full of hard work in order to make it better next season.

Being my first year away from Seattle and coming off injury brought some challenges. But I don’t think I could have picked a better spot to land. From the coaching staff to the players to the fans, the 49ers definitely showed that they’re a class organization.

It sucks that the season has to end because we were working and growing as a team. We’ll just have to keep that up in the offseason and make sure we bring it next season. One thing I do know is that this game is still fun for me. Being out there with your brothers every week is a feeling that you just can’t describe.

Sherman’s leadership was highlighted in a 14-9 loss to Chicago in the home stretch of the season. Chicago and San Francisco got into a skirmish on the Bears’ sideline, with Sherman coming to his teammates’ defense. As a result, the 49ers’ veteran corner was ejected from the game.

Shanahan praised Sherman for his actions against Chicago, despite the ejection in a close game.

I don’t know what happened over there,” Shanahan said. “Sherm was very clear to me he was trying to get his brother’s back, and I love for guys to do that as much as they can.

“It’s definitely better when they do as much as they can and they don’t get ejected. But they had two get ejected and we had one, so that was better. I respect the heck out of Sherm, and I didn’t really see what happened.”

With the likes of young defensive backs Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore playing opposite to Sherman, they couldn’t have a better mentor to look up to all season long. The 49ers’ youngest position group is their defensive backfield and having Sherman lead that group in 2019 should alleviate Shanahan’s concerns.