The Bay Area is apparently the place to be for superstar athletes getting a fresh start in 2018 while recovering from major Achilles’ tendon injuries.
On the hardwood, the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors made the most surprising free-agency addition of this offseason by signing DeMarcus Cousins. The two-time All-NBA center suffered a torn left Achilles in January, missed the rest of the season, and is now aiming to prove he can still be an elite player in the league once he’s recovered.
On the gridiron, the San Francisco 49ers — far removed from their last Super Bowl championship but putting together the pieces to regain their past glory after three straight losing seasons — also pulled a free-agency surprise by signing Richard Sherman. The four-time All-Pro cornerback, formerly of the rival Seattle Seahawks, suffered a ruptured right Achilles in November. He missed the rest of the season, and is now aiming to prove he can still be an elite player in the league once he’s recovered.
Sherman apparently has some believers among his NFL peers, as the players voted him No. 64 on the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 ranking.
Limited to nine games last season, Sherman recorded 35 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups and a fumble recovery. The pair of picks happened in the same game, as Sherman took two possessions away from Houston Texans rookie sensation quarterback Deshaun Watson in a 41-38 shootout won by Seattle.
Sherman has been considered one of the best cornerbacks and overall defensive players in the NFL for the last five or six years. But now he’s 30 years old, wearing a uniform that still looks strange on him, and he’s been plagued by injuries recently.
There’s enough of an Emmitt-Smith-in-Arizona vibe here for Sherman’s critics to sink their teeth into. A lot of fans and media are saying he’s lost a step.
For anyone who’s familiar with the man who was the voice of the “Legion of Boom” defense, that’s just going to create another chip on his shoulder to push him in 2018.