Sherman cleared to begin practice with 49ers


Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif.

Richard Sherman has been cleared to practice for the San Francisco 49ers at the start of training camp.

Sherman joined San Francisco after getting released by rival Seattle following season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He was unable to participate in the offseason program but pronounced himself 100 percent when he reported to camp Wednesday and will take part in the team’s first practice today.

Sherman earned a $2 million bonus for passing his physical under a contract he negotiated himself following the injury that ended his season last November. Sherman consulted with former Lakers great Kobe Bryant on what it takes to come back from that kind of injury and always believed he would be ready for the start of camp.

“It was a grind,” he said. “But I think it was more like one of those things that you can look at optimistically or pessimistically. You can look at it as, ‘Woe is me, why did this happen to me? Why do I have to go through this?’ Or you could look at it as, ‘I needed another great challenge and I needed another mountain to climb.’ That’s how I treated it.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the initial plan for Sherman will be to practice the first two days, take a day off Saturday and then return to the field Sunday. The 49ers will take Monday off and the team will see how Sherman has responded to figure out what’s next.

“We trust what he thinks and how he works,” Shanahan said. “A lot of it is up to Richard. If he’s being too aggressive, it’s our job to pull him back. It’s a matter of time when he gets back and we want to be smart with that.”

Six players will open camp on injured lists, although most are expected back relatively soon. Guard Jonathan Cooper (knee), receiver Trent Taylor (back) and linebacker Dekoda Watson (calf) are on the physically unable to perform list. Linebacker Malcolm Smith had a lower leg injury while working out on his own recently and will begin camp on the non-football injury list, along with rookies Marcell Harris and Kentavius Street, who were hurt when they were drafted.

But having a healthy Sherman to start camp is a big boost for a team full of optimism after winning the final five games last season under quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to finish 6-10.

The midseason acquisition of Garoppolo from New England turned around a struggling franchise that had lost 24 of 27 games before he took over as starter late last season.

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