Nevius: 49ers’ Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman bridge their differences
Richard Sherman and Nick Bosa seem like polar opposites. Consider their respective press conferences in the 49ers’ media auditorium after Saturday’s playoff win over Minnesota.
Sherman took the podium in a snappy gray suit coat with a purple pocket square flaring out of the breast pocket. His trademark dreadlocks cascaded over his shoulders.
He cautioned reporters to “take a seat, I’m going to be here a while,” and launched into an extended riff on his accomplishments and how he’d been disrespected by doubters. While accurate, the laundry list of personal achievements is the kind of braggadocio that is off-putting to fans and cranky veteran sports columnists.
Several minutes later, Bosa took the stage in a gray hoodie and sweatpants. Not to dwell on his trademark deadpan, but I’ve seen more expression on the faces of clocks. He answered questions in his usual surfer-bro monotone.
What could these two have in common? And yet, as Bosa said Saturday, he’s not only come to think of Sherman as a valuable teammate, he’s learned to appreciate and even admire him.
“It’s just funny how you form an opinion as a fan,” he has said. “And then you actually meet people and it’s completely different.”
How did this happen? Because a few months ago, it looked like a potential problem.
Bosa, you recall, had a rough start to his professional career. As the second choice in the draft, his background was scrutinized as if he was a presidential candidate. And unfortunately, there were some problems.
Although he deleted them, reporters found some tweets where Bosa had referred to controversial Colin Kaepernick as “a clown.” He also Tweeted such praise for Donald Trump that the president responded with a Twitter shout-out to Bosa. Here on the Left Coast, that’s not a good look.
Reporters, as is our wont, rushed to Sherman in hopes of stirring up a brouhaha. Sherman has been a critic of Trump and is a vocal supporter of Kaepernick. They laid out the comments and waited for the fireworks.
They never happened. Didn’t he want to set Bosa straight?
“No,” Sherman said. “If he can play, he can play. Is he helping our team? Is he being a good teammate? Those are things that matter. Now, if he’s a bad teammate, that’s something we’ll address.”
We don’t have a record of Bosa’s reaction, but he had to be shocked. Especially since he admitted during the season that in his younger days he was “kinda a Seahawks hater.” He said he didn’t appreciate “the arrogance” of Seattle’s notorious Legion of Boom defense.
And now the leader of that Legion, and probably the person most associated with that arrogant mindset, was helping to defuse his controversy? Whoa.
And it didn’t end there. When it turned out that Bosa could play, and was a legitimate Rookie of the Year contender — winning the Pro Football Writers of America’s overall and defensive versions of that award on Tuesday — Sherman went out of his way to praise him.
Asked how Bosa was doing after one eye-opening game, Sherman took off on a lengthy discourse that one reporter calculated ran to 375 words.