By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Cornerback Richard Sherman apologized for the spectacle he created on Sunday without backing away from anything he said.
He was by turns charming and conciliatory and at times humorous.
Richard Sherman said Wednesday he regrets his postgame interviews took attention away from the team, but added that the emotion he showed is part of who he is. (AP)
He was completely engaged, and if all of America was watching his press conference as intently as it scrutinized his 10-second interview on the field after Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, well, the whole country got a more complete view of how compelling Sherman is not just as a player, but as a person.
“If I would have really known it was going to blow up like that, I probably would have approached it differently,” he said, addressing the reaction to what has been dubbed his rant. “Just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates’ great games.”
Then he proceeded to list them off.
“Kam Chancellor played a great football game,” Sherman said. “Played almost a perfect ballgame.”
Then running back Marshawn Lynch.
“Frickin’ Beast Mode ran for 100 yards plus, had a great touchdown run,” he said.
And linebacker Bobby Wagner.
“Bobby had 15 tackles, so many people played so many great games that you would think the stories would be about them,” he said. “So that’s the only thing I feel kind of regretful about.”
He has not reached out to Michael Crabtree, the receiver he described as “sorry” to FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews and the one he labeled as “mediocre” repeatedly in his press conference after the game.
What followed was a cross-country discussion on everything from sportsmanship to postgame decorum to the enduring racial prejudices as a number of people directed hateful epithets toward Sherman via Twitter.
Sherman said the nature of the reaction surprised him.
“I was on a football field showing passion,” Sherman said. “Maybe it was misdirected. Things may have been immature. Things could have been worded better. But this is on a football field. I wasn’t committing any crimes, doing anything illegal. I was showing passion after a football game. I didn’t have time to sit there and contemplate, ‘What am I going to say?’ “
So what is he going to say going forward? Sherman was asked whether the reaction to what he said after Sunday’s game will change what he says going forward or even how he chooses to say it.
“I can only be myself,” he said. “I’ll obviously learn from my mistakes and try to work situations like that better and be more mature about situations, understand the moment. You can’t be anybody else. You can’t make things up now. It has gotten us this far. It would be hard to make somebody else and be somebody else. I can only be myself.”
And there’s the rub. Because it was the emotion that Sherman summons that was largely responsible for not only what he said on Sunday, but the ferocity with which he said it.
And he made it clear that toning down the emotion he puts into the game reduces his effectiveness.
“I tried it multiple times,” Sherman said, “and it cuts my game. It cuts my game. If I’m going to put my all into it, I’m going to put my all into it. If you catch me as I’m putting my all into it, you may get something like what happened at the end of the game. I’m putting my all into this game.”