Fit with 49ers gives Richard Sherman's fire chance to burn bright again

From ESPN - March 13, 2018

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As new San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman makes the roughly 800-mile move down the West Coast from Seattle to the Bay Area, he's leaving no doubt that he will bring that rather large chip on his shoulder with him.

Asked Monday how that chip has influenced his career and whether he will continue his approach of seeking slights both real and perceived as motivation, Sherman did not hesitate to confirm that nothing will change in that regard.

"Definitely, I have always played that way," Sherman said. "It's kind of reigniting that gasoline fire that I have always had burning. They just threw a lot more gas on it and I appreciate that, I am thankful for this motivation and this kind of inspiration. I got a lot of people to show ... I am excited at those prospects. I told [general manager] John [Lynch] and [chief contract negotiator] Paraag [Marathe] and [coach] Kyle [Shanahan], I got a little something in my neck when I feel disrespected or slighted and I usually have a way of showing that in my play.

As one might expect, comments such as those and his acknowledgement to the MMQB that he was going to be "vengeful" toward the Seattle Seahawks after they released him last week have drawn plenty of attention. And that's understandable. After all, the idea of Sherman signing with his biggest rival, returning to his former home in Seattle and reclaiming his former Pro Bowl glory is a revenge story that would make the likes of Hamlet and Edmond Dantes proud.

Lost in all of the talk about retribution is this: While the chance to play the team that cut him twice a year was enticing, signing with the 49ers actually offers Sherman the best opportunity to return to something close to his high standards.

Here in the middle of March, nobody really knows whether Sherman will be able to recover from a ruptured right Achilles or how the procedure to clean up bone spurs in his left ankle might affect him moving forward. At the end of the month, Sherman will turn 30, another reason many are betting against him.

But while many questioned Sherman for everything from his decision to negotiate his own contract to his interpretation of what makes the 49ers a contender, he quietly came to the conclusion that the Niners provide him the chance to focus solely on doing everything needed to get back up to speed.

Many free agents will spend the next few weeks signing with new teams and then stepping into the uncertainty that goes with a new team and locale, but Sherman will have no such concerns.

Technically, Sherman is not from the Bay Area but he might as well be. He spent his college years at Stanford and knows plenty about the region. Choosing a place to live or a place to eat wo not be difficult. Staying on the West Coast was also important to Sherman as it provided a chance to stay close to family. He has two children living in Seattle and his fiancee's family lives there as well. His parents live in Los Angeles.

Sherman is scheduled to get married at the end of the month. From a family perspective, he will have everything he could need no further than a short flight away.


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