James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan on Richard Sherman potentially playing safety: “I wouldn’t put anything past him”

Nov 28, 2020 at 10:07 AM--

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has indicated that he plans to play until he is about 35 years old. That means maybe three more years. At least, that was the plan a couple of years ago.

"I think 35 is probably my cutoff," Sherman said in his first season with the 49ers. "They'd have a hard time getting me out of the bed at 35 to go play."

Would Sherman consider a move to safety before then, if necessary? He's spoken to Charles Woodson, who successfully did so during his career, about the idea.

"At some point, everybody makes the transition to safety if you're smart enough to play that game," Sherman said. "I'll probably do that in a couple of years or whenever the team needs (me to do so)."

Added Sherman: "At free safety, you get to see the whole field. You get to make an impact. You always see where the ball goes."

During an interview with Sports Illustrated, former 49ers cornerback Eric Davis weighed in on Richard Sherman's future, saying that he felt the future Hall of Fame defender would excel in a move to safety.

"I would love for Sherm to move to safety because the safety position has to get more productivity," Davis told Grant Cohn. "Richard Sherman has the body. He has the mindset. He has the intent to be a high-level safety. I think Sherm would be a Pro Bowl safety. I see Sherm moving to safety and having the same effect that Merton Hanks moving to safety had."

Of course, if the 49ers wanted to find out if Sherman can play safety, they would need to re-sign the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro. There are no guarantees that happens. Sherman is scheduled to become a free agent after the season.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't want to bet against Sherman's chances of finding success after a position change.

"I think Sherm could do whatever he wanted to do," Shanahan said this past week. "If that's where he saw his career going and he was committed to it, he'll figure out a way to do it. I loved Merton Hanks and Eric Davis. Huge, huge fans of those guys. Sherman doesn't have as long of a neck as Merton, but he's got more hair that could help him with the hitting, I guess. Sherm, whatever challenge he wants, I wouldn't put anything past him."

The 49ers' general manager, John Lynch, knows a thing or two about playing safety. He, too, wouldn't bet against Sherman moving positions.

"I don't doubt him on anything," Lynch said in 2018. "He's got the size. He's certainly got the football intelligence. I believe he's got good years left at corner. I know Richard. Richard has the ability to do that."

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