Joe Staley's first conversation with Richard Sherman sounds pretty awkward. Or maybe it wasn't because of the league-wide perceptions surrounding both players. Staley pretty much says whatever is on his mind, and most of the time it is pretty entertaining. Sherman is entertaining for a very different reason. He tends to get under the skin of opponents.

The San Francisco 49ers signed the bitter division rival and former Seattle Seahawks cornerback in March. Outside of the trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, it was one of the biggest acquisitions for the 49ers in recent memory. It was also a controversial one because of the perception from fans, who had gotten used to hating the vocal cornerback.

Fans are getting comfortable with seeing Sherman in red and gold rather than his traditional blue and (blindingly) bright green. Even as he recovers from an Achilles injury, Sherman has contributed the 49ers' improvement by being a mentor to the young defensive backs on and off the practice field.

Still, Staley may not have been immediately ready to welcome him with open arms when he arrived in Santa Clara.

"I told him this to his face; he's the exact opposite of what -- I thought I was going to hate him because I hated him when he was in Seattle," Staley said on The Rich Eisen Show. "He was just one of those guys that kind of got under your skin. I think that's what makes him such a great teammate is his ability to rattle the opponent. You're not going to be upset with a guy that's doing his job at the highest level, and he's been able to do that for years.

"He's come right in; he's taking over that mentorship role right now for our defensive back room. We have a really young room besides him. It's a lot of young guys that are trying to make their way in the NFL. He's been just like a second coach out there and really taken that role seriously while he rehabs. He's looking really good. He was able to do a couple of individual drills in the minicamp that we just had. He's been nothing but great."

Staley laughed when he remembered that it was actually his first conversation with Sherman where he told the veteran cornerback that he expected to hate him.

"I think he expected me to say something like that as well just because, I don't know, my reputation, I guess, precedes me," Staley explained. "I'm someone that kind of says what I feel. Yeah, it's been all fun out here."

Sherman has admitted that the presence of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made signing with a division rival easier.

"The way he played down the stretch was inspiring, it was incredible," Sherman said two days after signing with the 49ers in March. "Sometimes quarterbacks can get hot and the next year fall of the face of the Earth and not hear from them again. I saw poise. I saw leadership. I saw respect of his teammates. I saw command of the offense. And he had only been there a few weeks."

Rich Eisen asked Staley if he noticed free agents wanting to consider the 49ers now that they have a high-profile franchise quarterback.

"Just one of the big ones we had this offseason was Richard Sherman coming here," Staley responded, "and I think that Jimmy being the quarterback of the team was a big reason why he was able to come here, the reason why he wanted to come here. I mean, he spoke that to me this offseason.

"A lot of the guys coming in are just excited about what he can do in a full season. We got a glimpse of what he can do last year, obviously, but we're all just really excited to have the whole entire offseason to study the playbook and have a full, entire understanding of what we're trying to do and what we're trying to accomplish on offense. How every little piece fits, and then go out there and do it for a full 16-game season."