Updated February 9, 2024 - 6:34 pm
Clelin Ferrell insists he’s not bitter about his time with the Raiders.
The defensive lineman was drafted fourth overall by the team in 2019, but was allowed to walk as a free agent last offseason. He signed a one-year deal with the 49ers in March.
Ferrell still makes his home in Las Vegas. Some of his closest friends are on the Raiders. He’s even got the team’s logo tattooed on his body.
Now he’s back in town for Super Bowl 58.
“There’s been ups and downs and trials and tribulations, but Raider Nation will always be a part of me,” said Ferrell, who will not play Sunday due to a knee injury. “I don’t care what anyone says, I got it tattooed before Maxx (Crosby) and Josh (Jacobs). Don’t let them tell you no lie. It’s something that’s a major, major part of me.”
Ferrell, 26, said he was down to the 49ers and Raiders in free agency. He credited San Francisco veteran Arik Armstead with sealing the deal. Ferrell said he doesn’t need a win Sunday to validate his choice.
“It’s been the most fun I’ve had playing football in the league,” Ferrell said. “That’s not a shot at the Raiders, but it is a statement about my journey. I still live here. This is my hometown now. The Raider Nation will also be a part of that. But when you tell your story, you have to be honest.”
One thing the 49ers provided Ferrell was a fresh start.
He struggled to live up to his draft pedigree with the Raiders. He developed into a solid three-down player, but his 10 sacks in four seasons were disappointing for a top-five selection.
“The high pick stuff was super fun and there was a lot that came with it, but it’s just one part of the journey,” Ferrell said. “You have people saying you’re not this anymore or you’re supposed to be this. Well, let’s see what we can be next year and the next. My journey is still being told and my story will be a cool one as long as I keep progressing in this game. That’s how I really look at it. Hopefully, by year 10, lord willing, it will be a great story to tell. People will be saying, ‘Remember we hated Clelin Ferrell? Goodness gracious, now we love him.’”
San Francisco would love to have Ferrell on Sunday. The 49ers have had a hard time defending the run in his absence. He also tallied 3½ sacks this year, his most since his rookie season.
Ferrell said his success has been a result of his development as a leader just as much as his growth on the field.
“When I came to a new team, and nothing against the Raiders, but I knew once I had a change of scenery, I wanted to be somebody that was seen as a little more mature and someone who guys can lean on,” Ferrell said. “I really wanted to make a change.”
Ferrell’s heart remains with the Raiders despite starting a new chapter on the field.
He said he watched every game and still roots for his old friends. He had a great time catching up with them during joint practices in training camp.
“Those are my guys,” Ferrell said. “I just have so much respect for the guys in that locker room. So much changed, but the guys that came in with me are still staples. They’ve been leading this team.
“I just love them.”
Kelce likes Chiefs’ intensity
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is optimistic based on the team’s workouts this week.
“It’s chaos, a lot of fun and a lot of energy at practice. Everybody’s focused and dialed in on their job at hand,” Kelce said.
The Chiefs got after it a bit amongst themselves on Wednesday. That’s not a bad thing heading into such an important game.
“The offensive and defensive lines are trying to get their work in, trying to make sure everybody’s ready for the game,” Kelce said. “It just got me fired up. I love the focus and energy of the team right now.’’
Kansas City guard out
The Chiefs ruled out left guard Joe Thuney for Sunday’s game with a pectoral injury.
Thuney, who missed the AFC title game, expressed hope he could recover in time for the Super Bowl. He didn’t progress enough during the week. Nick Allegretti will start in his place.
Running back Jerick McKinnon (groin) is questionable.
Defensive tackle Kalia Davis (ankle) is the only 49ers player with an injury designation. He is questionable. He is on injured reserve and must be added to the roster Saturday to be eligible to play.