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A letter to Richard Sherman

The Seahawks have parted ways with longtime cornerback Richard Sherman. (AP)

Dear Richard:

I was going to send this to you on Twitter, but you blocked me.

And somehow, that’s just one more thing that endeared you to me.

You always cared. About everything. In fact, sometimes maybe you cared too much, believing that you always knew best, but that’s part of the reason that you’re my favorite professional athlete that I’ve covered these past 20 years in Seattle.

Richard Sherman says he has been released by Seahawks

You were always yourself. Unapologetically. Enthusiastically.

So I’m sending you this Internet equivalent of a message in a bottle on the day of your official release from the Seahawks to say thanks.

Thanks for your (sizeable) part in making these past seven years of Seahawks football the best, most decorated in franchise history.

Thanks for being honest and engaging and so unafraid.

Thank you for being you.

You were the pivotal player in the most important play in this franchise’s history, tipping a pass that was intended for Michael Crabtree to linebacker Malcolm Smith. Not only that, but then you went and slapped Crabtree on the backside and after the game cut a promo about that being the result you’re going to get when you try the best corner in the game with a sorry receiver like Crabtree.

A 49ers team spokesman once complained that his children were left in tears by that interview, which only makes it better in my mind.

I loved it when you feigned a yawn while you were mic’d up in a game against the Vikings, making it clear to the Minnesota receiver that he was not challenging you. I also laughed every time you twirled your finger at the side of your helmet after an opponent passed in your direction, telling the quarterback he must be crazy.

You became a Seattle original. The brash alter-ego for a city that’s rightfully known for being passive-aggressive.

Football is a business that tends toward conformity. It’s why all the coaches tend to sound the same and the offenses follow the same trends and having a linebacker blitz while a defensive lineman drops into coverage is considered an exotic look.

You were always, adamantly yourself.

It wasn’t always pretty. In fact, there were times it could be petty.

I don’t think you should have gotten mad on the sideline when the offense attempted a pass from the 1-yard line against the Rams in December 2016. I definitely don’t think you should have explained – in intricate detail – why you were mad in the locker room after the game let alone repeating the objections six days later.

But I also can see that stubbornness – that cocksure faith that you knew best – is part of the reason that you were such a great player.

Wait. That shouldn’t be in the past tense.

You are a great player, and I’ll be rooting for your continued success wherever that may be. And heck, maybe when the dust clears from free agency and we’re a few weeks or months down the road, it might be back in Seattle.

And if it’s not, I can tell you that while someone else might be starting left cornerback here in Seattle, no one is going to replace you.

There’s only ever going to be one Richard Sherman, which is good because I don’t think we could handle two of you.