Beckham, Sherman more interested in wins
SANTA CLARA >> Richard Sherman and Odell Beckham Jr. opened the season as strong contenders for Comeback Player of the Year.
They have indeed returned at an elite level from lower-leg injuries. But their efforts have done little to rescue the 49ers (2-7) and New York Giants (1-7) entering Monday night’s game.
“I never really imagined being in a comeback-player-of-the-year race, but if I get a chance to win it, I’ll take it,” Beckham told Giants-based media Friday.
Beckham noted that’s not his priority, however, and Sherman echoed
that Friday, noting he and Beckham only briefly discussed their comebacks at the offseason’s ESPY Awards. More likely to win for their comebacks this season: Houston’s J.J. Watt or Deshaun Watson, Washington’s Adrian Peterson, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz or Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck.
“In my mind, I’m not competing against them. I like their success,” Beckham said. “I like that Sherm came back and is playing at a high level. I’m excited to go against him.”
Beckham (61 catches, 785 yards) is on pace to set franchise receiving records, although he has only two touchdown catches.
Sherman is anticipating a “fun” matchup with Beckham, noting: “I know he’ll get targeted. I know he’ll get the ball. He likes his spots. Eli will throw it up to him.”
But will Eli Manning throw toward Sherman, something few quarterbacks have dared doing this season while instead picking on the 49ers’ other cornerbacks, which Monday night figure to be Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams?
“My legs have been feeling better. Yesterday, they felt as good as they’ve ever felt,” said Sherman, who took a
“really meaningful” step in his comeback tour by playing in last week’s 34-3 rout of the Raiders only four days after a taxing effort in Arizona.
FIRE RELIEF >> A stream of 49ers players rushed Friday to both request and provide relief for the Camp Fire victims in Paradise, the hometown of their assistant strength coach Shane Wallen.
“He took my extra bed and drove it up to his dad last night, because his dad’s house burned down,” tight end George Kittle said. “He left at the drop of a hat, so you can tell how much his family and his town mean to him.”
“This place was home for me growing up, and until yesterday, it’s where my dad called home for the last 20 years. These people need your help,” Wallen tweeted Friday, requesting donations be sent to a GoFundMe account.
Air quality from the fire led the 49ers to bump Friday’s practice up from 1:50 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday night’s game against the New York Giants remains scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium, although the league will keep tabs on air conditions.
“We are monitoring conditions in California and are in close communication with the clubs and local authorities,” an NFL spokesman said.
Kittle, quarterback Nick Mullens, left tackle Joe Staley, right tackle Mike McGlinchey, linebacker Brock Coyle and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas are among those who hit Twitter in the fire-relief efforts. Kittle and fellow tight ends Garrett Celek and Cole Wick are among the first who have donated to Wallen’s relief efforts, as has punter Bradley Pinion.
Wallen joined the 49ers’ strength and conditioning staff this year.
OTHER SHERMAN THOUGHTS >> Sherman’s weekly media sessions usually are ripe with insights, and here are a couple more from Friday:
On the Thousand Oaks mass shooting: “Honestly, it’s odd our society continues to see that, continues to see mass murders happen. Just this year, what is it, 300, so
far? There are several common denominators with these mass murders.
“You’d pray for the victims’ sake, for everybody’s sake. People are worried about sending their kids to school, because schools are getting shot up. You can’t even go to a bar. Churches. Grocery stores. You’d hope at one point or another people would get it and be, ‘We need to make a change.’ But I guess the almighty dollar is more important than human life.”
On preferring 1 p.m. starts instead of prime time: “I 100-percent subscribe to every game is the same. I wish we didn’t ever have prime-time games. Primetime games are a waste of time. You have to sit around all day. I want to play at 1 o’clock, wake up, eat my breakfast, go play, get on with your day.” SCOUTING REPORT >> Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh raved about the Giants’ skill players, including Beckham, Manning and rookie Saquon Barkley, the latter of whom he said: “God, he is dynamic. For his size, it’s very deceptive because it doesn’t look like he is moving, but the son of a gun is moving. He’s got tremendous balance. He’s got great feet.”
As for the Giants’ non-skillposition players (see: linemen), Saleh didn’t bask in the possibility of increasing Manning’s 31 sacks.
“You know what, there’s a lot of things that can go into play there,” Saleh said. “I still think Eli has great arm strength. I still think he can throw the ball with great accuracy.”
HEALTH CENTER >> Kittle (chest contusion) again was limited and wore a no-contact jersey. Linebacker Reuben Foster (hamstring) remained on a side field with trainers and figures to miss his second straight game, as is the case with safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder). Wide receiver Pierre Garcon (knee) did not practice.
MILITARY HONORS >> General manager John Lynch, for the second straight year, is the 49ers’ nominee for the NFL’s “Salute To Service Award,” as presented by the USAA. Finalists are announced in January. Lynch’s staunch support of the military includes inviting troops to 49ers training camp and visiting a local USO office.
The 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium is offering free admission through Sunday to active and retired military personnel with ID.
Monday night’s ceremonies will include an F-18 flyover, U.S. Army Golden Knights skydivers and a halftime show by Travis Air Force Base’s band. Parking lots open at 1:45 p.m., and all stadium gates are open at 3:15 p.m.
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has returned to his elite level of play after a lower leg injury.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is on pace to set franchise receiving records.
49ers tight end George Kittle was limited in practice Friday with a chest contusion and wore a no-contact jersey.