Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Rice: ‘Hungry’ Richard Sherman will play with a chip on his shoulders and make the 49ers better

Mar 15, 2018 at 10:12 AM--

While former San Francisco 49ers and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice doesn't believe Richard Sherman could have covered him, he knows the 49ers defense will improve with the All-Pro cornerback on the field. Rice, who recently joined 95.7 The Game as a contributor through Super Bowl 53, joined the station this morning to discuss what Sherman brings to the 49ers.

"I think Richard is going to play with a chip on his shoulders because of what happened to him in Seattle," Rice said on-air. "You've got to think about this. This guy was the man in Seattle and then all of a sudden, he got forced out of Seattle, and now he's with the San Francisco 49ers.

"Yeah, you've got the knowledge, but I think he's still got the skills to go out there and compete, and he's hungry. So he's going to make that secondary so much better and also going to bring a lot of experience to those younger guys."

One of those younger guys will be cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who as of right now is slated to start opposite Sherman in the 49ers secondary. Witherspoon started nine games as a rookie last season after taking over the starting job following a trade that sent Rashard Robinson to the New York Jets.

Rice said that coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon is going to be a battle for Sherman, and we'll just have to wait and see if he can return to being the cornerback he once was.

"It's going to be a battle for him, but when I tore my ACL and my MCL, that was a battle for me, and I had to fight back from that," he said.

Rice said it took him two years after the injury – which was different from Sherman's – to feel completely comfortable on the football field again.

Sherman's presence will not only improve the 49ers defense, but the offense will benefit as well. The receivers on the team, along with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, are going to have to face him nearly every day in practice.

"He's going to bring a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, (and) they're going to be competitive," Rice said. "I'm sure Pierre (Garçon), I'm sure Marquise (Goodwin), all those guys are going to want to show this guy up and let him know that, 'Hey look, if you line up against me, it's on. We're going to battle. We're going to get better.'"

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