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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Richard Sherman goes from hated rival to “Uncle Sherm”

Jun 19, 2018 at 1:12 PM

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My how things have quickly changed. A player who the 49ers and fans loved to hate is now an integral part of the franchise going into the 2018 season.

Sherman was once known for his antics towards the 49ers such as calling out Michael Crabtree on national television after the NFC Championship game in 2014. He went on to eat a turkey leg on the 49ers team logo postgame after the Seahawks decidedly beat the 49ers on Thanksgiving Day later that year.

Fast forward to 2018 when in an unexpected twist, the Seahawks decided to cut their defensive stalwart due to an Achilles injury and salary cap implications. Per, Sherman carried a $13.2 million cap hit and the Seahawks were able to save $11 million by cutting him.

The 49ers quickly moved on Sherman with cornerback being one of the team's biggest priorities going into the offseason and signed him the next day to a three-year deal worth up to $39 million including incentives. The 49ers made Sherman their first notable free agent acquisition of the offseason with the signing.

Shortly after signing his contract, Sherman has been an influential member of the team even while recovering from the Achilles injury he suffered just last year. Sherman has been seen coaching his fellow cornerbacks during both minicamps and OTAs. Off the field, he has also been seen on social media with his fellow teammates hosting a get together as well as going out for a night of go-kart racing.

On a serious note, he was one of the few members from the 49ers who sat through court proceedings in support of teammate, Reuben Foster, during his domestic violence case. Needless to say, Sherman is making a huge impact on the 49ers before even playing a down for the team and his 49ers teammates have taken note.

Adrian Colbert, who is currently projected to be the 49ers' starting free safety, has nicknamed Sherman "Uncle Sherman. The rest of the defensive back group, including Jaquiski Tartt and K'Waun Williams, has also adopted the nickname for its new teammate. Other 49ers veterans who previously despised Sherman have given nothing but praise.

Joe Staley recently went on the Rich Eisen Show and had this to say about Sherman:

"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. 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."

Sherman's recovery and return to full strength is one of the biggest storylines going into training camp. He has publicly stated that he feels much better this offseason compared to years' past after having surgery. Sherman didn't seem to miss a beat so far - albeit during individual drills in OTA's.

One thing is for certain: Sherman's teammates have already embraced him as one of their leaders filling a void on the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers are expecting Sherman to return as one of the top corners in the league when healthy. But even if he doesn't get back to that level, "Uncle Sherman" has already made an impact on this team, and there is little question in the minds of the coaches that the 49ers will see that impact on the field once the season begins.
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