Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Jason Verrett embracing his healthy season with the 49ers

Nov 27, 2020 at 9:59 AM--

Cornerback Jason Verrett has struggled to get onto and stay on the football field during his NFL career. He was labeled as injury-prone after landing on injured reserve during five of his first six pro seasons.

It was a bit of a surprise when the San Francisco 49ers re-signed Verrett to a one-year deal in April. It turned out to be a good move. Richard Sherman landed on injured reserve after Week 1, and Verrett has since filled in for the veteran, regaining the Pro Bowl form he displayed in 2015.

"You're just so excited and so happy to see that because of everything he's been through," Sherman said last month. "I mean, some of the most devastating injuries after injury after injury, and then setback after setback. And you just want the best for him, and he's out there showing the world that he's an elite corner."

Verrett's Pro Football Focus grade of 78.3 ranks as the fifth-highest among cornerbacks with over 300 snaps. He was among three 49ers players named to the analytics site's 2020 Midseason All-Pro Team.

"Jason Verrett is one of the comeback stories of the season," wrote Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus. "He had played just four snaps on defense since the beginning of the 2018 season, and 327 since the start of 2016, but he has surpassed that total this year alone while establishing himself as one of the best cover guys in the league."

Even when Sherman returns, Verrett's play has proven that he, too, will need to remain on the field.

Constant injuries can take a mental toll on a player. Verrett pushed forward, though, never giving up. Now, he is reaping the rewards and proving to everyone that he can be among the best in the NFL.

"I'm just embracing it," Verrett told 49ers team reporter Keiana Martin this week on the 49ers Unscripted podcast. "It was tough going through the last four years, dealing with being on IR, rehabbing, and all of that. But now, coming out of it full circle, being healthy, I'm just embracing it. I look forward to always speaking about it to where I can help other people, inspire other people in any way. I'm just embracing the story."

Verrett remembers his free-agency visit with the 49ers last year. Quickly signing with the team wasn't a difficult decision.

"The visit was dope," Verrett said. "Just seeing the camaraderie between all the coaches, the players that were there during my visit. Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander — both were there. Just seeing everything that they were showing that I didn't see (during) my time with the Chargers.

"But I think the training staff, the plan that they had for me physically, as far as getting back to speed and all of that, I think those are the top things that kind of stood out for me in wanting to sign."

Verrett admits that signing with the Niners created some conflicting feelings among his family. The cornerback grew up in Fairfield, California, so they naturally grew up as fans of the then-local Raiders.

"They kind of really wasn't feeling it, at first, me signing with San Fran," Verrett explained. "I even grew up not liking the Niners, so it's kind of crazy how things turned out. But they're embracing it, enjoying the ride."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Verrett below.

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