A year after tearing his Achilles, new San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has worked his way back onto the practice field after signing an incentive-laden contract where he's betting on himself to return to his top-tier form. According to NFL analyst and former quarterback Trent Dilfer, that might be a bad bet.
Dilfer was asked about both Sherman and Golden State Warriors addition DeMarcus Cousins, both coming off Achilles tears heading into their first seasons by the Bay. From KNBR's Murph and Mac Show (transcribed by 247Sports' Kirk Larrabee):
“Never the same. Not even close. And Richard’s the same way. They’ll be good enough because they’re world class athletes, but at best you’re going to be 85, 80 percent of what you were before.”
During his NFL career, Dilfer suffered two torn ACL injuries, hampering his ability to move around in the pocket. The Super Bowl XXXV champion still believes Sherman will be an impactful player for the 49ers in his first season out of Seattle, but he foresees a major role change to accommodate the loss of quickness caused by the injury.
“I see Richard being a big nickel. I think he’s going to struggle outside. And I love the guy – he’s one of my best friends in football – but I still think he’s going to transition to a big nickel or a zone corner. I think he’s going to struggle with the quickness and the foot speed locking up people all the time.
“He’s smart enough, he’s crafty enough, he’s physical enough. He’s going to do it well, but he’s not going to be elite. I think he can be elite though in that system.”
The four-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-team All-Pro is expected to be a full participate when 49ers training camp begins on July 25th.