Richard Sherman opened up about the process to come the San Francisco for the first time on over a conference call Monday morning.
While some of the conversation that took place navigated to the contractual variables that led to his signing with the 49ers, Sherman spoke highly of the people and culture within the organization that led to his eventual decision to join his once bitter rival.
Timing played a large role in those conversations:
“When the news broke, I think it was 1 o’clock when it hit the waiver wires, that’s when Kyle (Shanahan) and John (Lynch) reached out. They reached out almost immediately. I really appreciated that. It showed their commitment and their excitement at a chance to bring me on board.”
Shortly after the initial dialog, Sherman said he hopped on a plane to — as he put it — “San Fran” so he could meet with Shanahan and his wife, Mandy, in person to discuss the potential transaction over dinner.
Sherman also mentioned that he did his due diligence in speaking to other teams to have a feel on what they were offering but the connection he felt with Lynch and Chief Strategy Officer/Executive Vice President of Football Ops, Paraag Marathe, was too good to pass up.
Along with 49ers brass, Sherman said there were some players that helped ease his decision and made the picture clearer from a competitors standpoint.
One player in particular was Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers shiny new toy at quarterback:
“That had a huge part in it. The way he played down the stretch was inspiring and incredible. … What I saw from him was poise, I saw leadership, I saw the respect from his teammates, I saw command of the offense and he’d only been there a few weeks.”
Now that Sherman won’t have to deal with the likes of Garoppolo as an opponent, life should be a bit easier for the four-time All-Pro in the wild, wild NFC West.
The one hurdle he’ll face is the transition to a new team with new faces — although, according to Sherman, hurdles are a non-issue for the former California high school state finalist in the 110-meter hurdle event.
The good news for Sherman is that he’ll be welcomed with some familiar mates. Specifically, former Seahawks teammate Malcolm Smith and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who served as a defensive assistant in Seattle from 2011 to 2013.
Of the reunion with Smith and Saleh, Sherman said:
“I don’t think it’s going to be a transition at all. I think I’m going to walk right in and understand exactly what I need to do and what is going to be asked of me. … I think that with Malcolm and Saleh being here we’ll be good.”
With free agency on the horizon and the offseason program set to being soon, the 49ers now have their star corner. How they managed to land this big fish speaks to the internal structure and foundation that Shanahan and Lynch have been able to build in just one season.
How Sherman will fit in once the pads go on has yet to be seen but the 49ers have synergy for the first time in a long time. The only thing left to do is convert that cohesion into wins.