Sunday looked like it was going to be a dream start to the 49ers’ 2021 season, but things turned bittersweet pretty fast.
First there was the game itself, that saw San Francisco almost impossibly blow a 41-17 lead at the end of the fourth quarter. Much worse than that, however, was what is believed to be an ACL injury for Jason Verrett that could keep him out for the remainder of the season.
It’s a blow to what was already the team’s thinnest position on the roster, and Kyle Shanahan wasted no time mentioning that old friend Richard Sherman, 33, could be called on as a reinforcement in the next few weeks.
That might come as a surprise in light of Sherman’s recent legal troubles. The former 49ers and Seahawks cornerback pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanors — driving under the influence, reckless endangerment of roadway workers, second-degree criminal trespass (domestic violence designation), resisting arrest, and third-degree malicious mischief (domestic violence designation) –after an incident this offseason that ended with him being arrested at his father-in-law’s house.
Veteran NFL reporter Ian Rapoport doesn’t think that incident will present an issue when it comes to the 49ers trying to sign Sherman.
“I don’t expect the NFL to get involved,” Rapoport said on KNBR. “Generally, if there is a violent crime, then they would step in and put someone on the commissioner’s exempt list. I do not have evidence, nor is there a conclusion that the thing that happened with Richard Sherman – like we don’t know everything – but just based on what the charges were, his legal situation, it doesn’t feel like commissioner’s exempt list is coming. We’ll see if that changes if he gets signed, but I don’t believe so.
“There has been contact, it would make a lot of sense. I kind of always thought he’d be in their plans. I thought it would be later in the season as you get on a little bit. You lose a starter to an ACL injury, maybe it’s a little quicker than we imagined. I think it’s worth tracking. I think it would be a really good addition.
“I know the offseason hasn’t gone the way that Richard Sherman wanted. Obviously the legal situation seemed really alarming at first and now I kind of don’t know what it is. Probably not quite what we thought. So I think it bears watching and makes a lot of sense.”
Rapoport also mentioned another name that could be on the 49ers radar.
“I’ll also bring up Dre Kirkpatrick. He worked out for the 49ers somewhat recently, is fully vaccinated now, and is still a starter in this league who is clearly a free agent. I’d bring up that name as well as someone the Niners would consider.”
Kirkpatrick, 31, started nearly ever game for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2015-2018, and started in 11 last year for Arizona. He has 13 career interceptions in nine NFL seasons, after being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 Draft.
Listen to the full interview below.