Sherman still occupies corner office

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) during a game against the Minnesota Vikings.Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman's hard work paid off in a relatively fast (10 months) recovery from a ruptured Achilles.

Now he gets the reward: A matchup against the NFL's interception leader.

The question is: Will Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford borrow from Kirk Cousins' playbook and do all he can to avoid the four-time Pro Bowler?

Sherman was in on all 71 defensive snaps in his San Francisco 49ers debut, a season-opening loss at Minnesota. That means he was on the field for all 36 passes Cousins threw.

Only three went in Sherman's direction. And just one -- a Cousins scramble on which Sherman lost track of Stefon Diggs -- was completed, that for 21 yards.

"It's a mental game just as much as it's a physical game," Sherman insisted following his successful return to the field after suffering the season-ending injury in a game last November. "The concepts they were running were relatively simple. I just put myself in a position to be successful."

In other words, business as usual for the three-time All-Pro.

The 30-year-old Sherman took time on the field to thank someone who played an important role in his speedy recovery: Kobe Bryant.

The former Los Angeles Lakers standout, who rebounded from an Achilles injury in his 30s as well, contacted Sherman almost immediately upon hearing of the surgery to provide inspiration.

Sherman's way of saying thanks? He wore a special-edition, Kobe-style pair of cleats in the game.

No word on what he'll wear -- or if Bryant might make a surprise sideline appearance -- at this week's home opener against Stafford and the Lions.

Stafford threw a league-high four interceptions in his season opener Monday against the New York Jets.

SERIES HISTORY: 65th regular-season meeting. 49ers lead series, 36-27-1. The teams will be meeting for the first time at Levi's Stadium. The Lions haven't won at San Francisco since November 1975, losing 12 straight (including a 1983 playoff game). The Lions did prevail in the most recent head-to-head, 32-17 in Detroit in December 2015. The clubs have split a pair of postseason matchups, with Detroit's win coming at San Francisco in 1957.

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