Now months removed from his signing, it’s still hard to believe that Richard Sherman is a member of the 49ers. After years of impeccably playing the villain during the Jim Harbaugh era, Sherman enters the second phase of his decorated career in San Francisco, donning the colors of the team he used to terrorize.
But it wasn’t just 49ers fans that found Sherman and his antics obnoxious before his arrival in the Bay Area, it was also his new head coach Kyle Shanahan.
“Yeah definitely,” Shanahan said on KNBR when asked if his opinion of Sherman has changed. “I’ve played against him a ton and wasn’t a huge fan of him. Always respected him, but he drove me crazy just like he’s probably driven every Niners fan crazy. You get an impression of guys when you see them on TV and stuff. I know he’s been outspoken and things like that so I know everyone has their own opinion of that, but you don’t know someone until you talk to them.”
Shanahan said everything changed this offseason when he met with Sherman and his wife for dinner to discuss, among other things, his potential fit in San Francisco. Days later, Sherman signed a three-year deal with the 49ers.
“Very quickly the first night I met Richard, going out to dinner with him, him and his wife for about four hours, you realize that there’s a reason he’s so successful. That guy he’s very confident — he’ll let you know, he’ll say it — but it’s not a show. He believes it, that’s his mindset.”
Coming off a serious Achilles injury last season, there were questions as to what shape Sherman would be in at the beginning of 2018. Sherman proved to be ahead of schedule, clearing a physical one day before the start of training camp, earning himself a $2 million roster bonus in the process.
“He’s as competitive a person as I’ve been around, and that’s his edge. He’s extremely talented, but there are other guys who have been as talented as him that he’s passed up each year in the league, and he’s had seven years of working the way he has, having that mindset. That’s why I think when I first saw him, ‘Hey we can get after this guy, no he got us.’ What is it? He’s competitive, he works at everything, he’s not scared to fail, he’ll put himself out there and I love for our young guys to see that.
“We’ve got some talented young guys who believe they can do it, they got some opportunities last year and had a little success towards the end, and when guys have that they think they can play. Then you get a guy like Richard that they’ve seen do it consistently over time, and he brings a certain mentality and mindset that they feed off of and that’s something our guys need.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Shanahan on Sherman, start from 6:49.