It is a sight that most 49ers fans thought they would never see — or appreciate.
After years of torment, draped in the colors of perhaps San Francisco’s most hated adversary, Richard Sherman took the stage inside of the 49ers auditorium Tuesday afternoon wearing a bright red suit and matching 49ers hat.
Sherman was officially introduced as the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers.
While this is unfamiliar territory to those paying attention to and covering the story, for Sherman, returning to the Bay Area — particularly in red — is commonplace.
The former Stanford Cardinal athlete and graduate spoke about his return to the CIty by the Bay:
“I’m a West Coast guy, I’m a Bay Area guy — well I’m an L.A. guy but I spent five years in the Bay Area going to Stanford so I’ve won a lot of games wearing red.”
For Sherman, it’s been a big month. With a wedding coming up in just over a week and a 30th birthday shortly after, coming to San Francisco, a place with which he is already familiar, should make things much easier.
But what about on the field and in the locker room? How will a guy who spent the entirely of his seven-year career to this point on one team fare once he crosses enemy lines?
In those areas, Sherman carries perhaps more familiarity than would appear on the surface.
Joining the 49ers last season as the team’s defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh has spent his fair share of time with Sherman serving as a defensive quality control coach in Seattle from 2011-2013.
Saleh, who won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, has been quite open about bringing the same schemes and formations employed in Seattle to San Francisco and Sherman seems to be on the same page:
“With Robert Saleh, there’s familiarity there. I’ve done well in this scheme. I’ve played well in this scheme. I know it like the back of my — and the front of my hand.”
For all of the things that Sherman already knows about and is comfortable with inside of the 49ers organization, the four-time Pro Bowler can still acknowledge the perceived absurdity of him joining a once heated rival.
But at the end of the day, as Sherman puts it, the choice to come to San Francisco is, at its core, a business decision:
“I’m a pro’s pro … the Seahawks made their business decision. They made the decision that they needed to make and the San Francisco 49ers made the decision that they needed to make.”
Business decision or not, the move to bring Sherman into the 49ers organization is sure to do one thing if nothing else. It is sure to rekindle a rivalry that seemingly vanished with San Francisco’s competitiveness over the last four years.
Now on the other side of this battle, Sherman says he’s well aware and ready for the war to resume:
“The rivalry is what it is and it will be renewed, I’m sure, and I’ll be at the center of it again. At the end of the day, I just come in here to help this team win ball games. I like what they stand for and the direction the team’s headed. I look forward to making new memories.”