By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman has been working all camp to come back from a surgically-repaired Achilles tendon, but on Friday, the former Seattle Seahawk corner may have had another injury to deal with.
In the middle of a sluggish day defined by false starts and miscommunication, Sherman left practice after falling and subsequently pulling his hamstring in coverage during 11-on-11 drills.
“I didn’t see him fall,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “But they told me out there his hammy got tight on him so they took him out.”
What Shanahan didn’t see was Sherman covering wide receiver Pierre Garçon — one of several wideouts who have given Sherman headaches so far in camp. Running with Garçon in the middle of the field, Sherman looked to have fallen after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo floated a pass just out of Sherman’s reach. The eighth-year corner — who signed a three-year deal with the 49ers in March — did get up after the play, but grabbed his hamstring as he limped to the sideline.
Shanahan didn’t seem very concerned when asked about the injury but said the team will wait to see how severe it is as the day goes on.
The good news for San Francisco is that the team will have their second scheduled off-day on Saturday. The day of rest should afford Sherman some time to treat the injured hamstring and allow him to get back on the field as soon as possible.
Shanahan has praised Sherman over the past few days and says he’s been impressed with his desire to compete and ability to shut out the outside noise.
“I respect Sherm because he doesn’t care,” said Shanahan. “He’s not worried about anything. He’s out there working on his craft trying to get better and not caring what people say. That’s why you get better from that rep.”
Sherman has had flashes of brilliance in camp while also showing moments of regression in terms of speed. The latter was shown earlier in camp when Garçon and Marquise Goodwin smoked Sherman in 1-on-1 drills on consecutive days.
The 49ers will return to practice on Sunday, ideally with Sherman healthy and ready to go. If resiliency is truly a part of his makeup, this should be no problem.
– George Kittle continues to be the most reliable target for Garoppolo. The pair hooked up for five completions during full-team drills, including a touchdown in the red zone. Aside from Goodwin, who will be the team’s deadliest deep threat, Kittle will likely be the team’s No. 1 option in the passing game. Standing 6-foot-4, weighing 250 pounds and running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, Kittle should be a force to be reckoned with this season.
– Rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis was given the day off Friday after having some tightness in his groin this morning. Pettis has been a camp standout with his unique route running style and ability to get open against defenders. Shanahan did not seem worried about Pettis, calling the decision to rest the Washington product a precautionary method.
– San Francisco’s running game looked bad today. Some of this may be a product of poor offensive line play but overall, the running back corps looks battered after eight days of camp — six of which have come in pads. Along with Sherman, Saturday’s day off should benefit this group the most as the team is reaching the dog days of camp already.
– Friday was an overall sloppy day of practice, one which required Shanahan to stop drills midway through, in order to refocus the team. Shanahan said that he was looking for his players to be “more locked in,” which led to the uncharacteristic pow-wow at mid-field. The team did look more focused after the talk but still seemed “tight” as Shanahan put it.