Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman never considered opting out, says 49ers focused, ‘uniquely constructed’ to deal with pandemic

Aug 4, 2020 at 12:34 PM--

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke to reporters back-to-back on Tuesday via a video conference call. Between the two interviews, the seat, microphone, and table where Sherman sat were thoroughly wiped and disinfected by a team staff member.

It's a reminder of how different things are amid a pandemic.

The 49ers, along with the 31 other NFL teams, are trying to navigate their way to the 2020 season, and do so as safely as possible. Players have until Thursday to opt-out of the season should they have concerns for their own health or the health of their families.

Sherman is entering his 10th NFL season and third with the 49ers. He has a wife and young children at home. Sherman, however, never really considered not playing this season.

"More of the conversation was whether her and the kids would come, and how the school situations, and all that, would go," Sherman told reporters. "Obviously, I have my home in Seattle, where we stay the majority of the time. Outside of that, I think that was the only concern, and obviously the safety of my kids and my family is at the highest for me, and that's the dynamic we need to figure out."

They did figure it out. Sherman's family remained in Seattle as the cornerback prepares for the 2020 season. The nature of attending training camp amid a pandemic isn't too out of the ordinary for him, though.

"I feel relatively safe," Sherman explained. "I mean, just as safe as I do in the rest of society, honestly. At the end of the day, once you get through all the hoops you've got to jump through, and all the protocols and everything, you get on the field, football is football."

Sherman says he has undergone eight to ten COVID-19 tests already since reporting for training camp. That, of course, includes the initial two over four days necessary just to enter the building for the first time.

"It's (the test) pretty simple," Sherman shared. "It's the mid-nasal swab. They're going in. They're spinning it around one nostril, spinning it around the other nostril—it kind of tickles. And then you go on about your day ... It takes about two minutes. It's part of your routine, at this point."

Sherman believes the 49ers have an advantage over some other teams, where just their locations could be a distraction.

"I think on a team like ours, we're uniquely constructed to deal with this because obviously we're in Santa Clara," Sherman said. "There's not a huge nightlife. It's not like we're in Atlanta or Texas or Miami or Las Vegas or LA, where there's a lot of distractions, a lot of places you can go, a lot of things you can do to get yourself in trouble.

"I think our team is incredibly focused because of how close we were to winning a Super Bowl last year, and how that taste in their mouths is a bit of discipline in itself. That hunger, that angst is discipline in itself. So, I think our team is incredibly committed and driven toward that goal. And I think that in itself will be discipline enough."

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