ESPN's Suzy Kolber, Jeff Darlington, and Josina Anderson discussed cornerback Richard Sherman as part of a larger segment about the San Francisco 49ers on Friday's episode of NFL Live. The discussion didn't focus on Sherman's potential contributions on the field this season but instead focused on what he has already contributed (and will continue to contribute) off the field.

Sherman has embraced his role as a veteran on a young Niner secondary. He has been arranging – and paying for – group outings to improve chemistry within the group.

Sherman is coming off of a ruptured Achilles suffered in November. While general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were banking on the cornerback returning to his pre-injury form, they knew they were getting a much-needed veteran leader on and off the field.

"He has that alpha personality to get everybody going," Anderson noted. "And he also has that swag to get the confidence going too. You know he's going to be yapping when he gets the opportunity to play his old team."

The 49ers, who face Sherman's former team twice on a yearly basis, were an enticing destination for the cornerback, who signed with San Francisco a day after being released by the Seattle Seahawks.

Darlington believes Sherman might contribute more as a leader on defense than as the shutdown corner fans have come to know during his seven-year NFL career.

"I don't mean this as a criticism," Darlington said, "although, I'm sure Richard would definitely take it as one. But seriously, I wonder if his impact will be more felt as a leader on that team than it necessarily will be as a playmaker.

"I know that he believes that he will continue to be that playmaker, and I hope to see it from him because it's fun to watch. But I just think what he can do in that locker room from a cultural standpoint and really help shift the tide in there to make this a winning organization; he's got every bit of capability and every bit of swagger to be able to do just that."

While he awaits clearance from team doctors to practice, Sherman is bringing the mentality from the Seattle Seahawks to the 49ers.

"And we can come back to the intangibles because one thing they were really great at, especially on that defense in Seattle, was creating chemistry and he's been the guy to get the defensive backs together to go out to dinner, to go bowling, to do stuff," Kolber said. "Forge that chemistry and do it now."

During the one practice that was open to the media this past week, Sherman's veteran experience and value as a teacher were on full display. The All-Pro cornerback, unable to practice with his new teammates, was seen on the field acting as an additional defensive coach. He worked with the younger defensive backs while offering tips and helping to improve their technique.

"On the football side, he's just a great, great person," second-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon told reporters this past week. "He teaches me a lot. He's very active and hands on. He just wants to see my game propelled [to] the next level."

While Sherman has been working to create a more tight-knit group, it was defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley who encouraged his players to spend more time together this offseason.

"We had a good friendship in the room, but how can we expand on that and make it even more authentic than it already was? That's what we're trying to do," Witherspoon continued. "Just be around one another, understand each other as people."

The idea to build better chemistry within the group may have been Hafley's, but Sherman took the lead in getting the players together outside of the team facility.

"He's been paying for it," Witherspoon said of Sherman. "Just his leadership as well. I think up in Seattle, that's what they had that was so special. [It was] such a close group. He comes here; he understands that kind of relationship between players is what builds champions. That's what we're trying to attain."

Sherman has a lot of respect for the 49ers' youthful group and knows the talent is there. He is excited to see what an offseason of hard work and team building can do to improve play on the field.

"They have a great group," Sherman said at the 49ers' State of the Franchise event this past week. "[Ahkello Witherspoon] is obviously incredibly talented. He's going to be great this year. Adrian Colbert, Jaquiski Tartt, it's going to be a great group of guys, and I'm excited about it. K'Waun Williams, he's incredible at the nickel spot, so I'm excited to be able to grow with that group and see what we're capable of."

H/T to Patrick Tulini for the find.