Seahawks’ Richard Sherman hasn’t quieted down after all
RENTON – Richard Sherman hasn’t toned it down. At least not intentionally.
Seattle’s outspoken cornerback hasn’t seemed as outspoken as he was earlier in his career, when seemingly one NFL counterpart – or ESPN personality – after another found himself in Sherman’s cross-hairs. But Sherman said Wednesday that he hasn’t made any conscious effort to quiet down; it’s just that he hasn’t had any reason to speak up.
“Like I’ve always said, I think you guys have tried to make stories out of it. I’m more of a responder. I don’t go after anybody,” he said. “If somebody wants to say something outrageous and outlandish to me, I’d happily put them right back in their seat. That’s just how it’s always been. People say, ‘Oh, he’s not as talkative as he once was.’ Because nobody’s been disrespectful.
“Respect gets respect. Disrespect gets disrespect. It’s always been that way, but there’s been no disrespect so there’s no reason for me to say anything. It’s been calm.”
Mostly so. Sherman took exception to the belief last week that he was about to meet his match in Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, the latest No. 1 wide receiver that he was expected to shadow. Whereas Sherman primarily stuck to one side of the field in past seasons, he has much more frequently spent the majority if not the entirety of games covering the opponent’s top receiver. He held his own against Cincinnati’s A.J. Green then had his way with San Francisco’s Torrey Smith (twice) and Dallas’ Dez Bryant.
Sherman wouldn’t disclose who it was, but he said there were “quite a few people” who believed that as a bigger cornerback, he’d have a hard time covering a smaller, quicker receiver like Brown, who’s listed at 5-feet-11 and 181 pounds. Brown entered Sunday’s game as the league’s second-leading receiver but caught only three passes for 24 yards on plays in which he was covered by Sherman, who picked off one of the throws that came his way.
“I thought it was funny, I thought it was laughable,” Sherman said of the notion that he couldn’t cover Brown, specifically where it came from. “I always feel like it’s laughable when you hear people criticize something that you do, something that they couldn’t do. It’s always laughable. If it’s somebody like Deion [Sanders] – somebody who’s played the game, who’s been a professional, who’s played it at an All-Pro level – says he sees something in my game or he sees a weakness, then you can respect that.”
Sherman’s life has changed over the last year or so, even if his willingness to sound off hasn’t. He has a fiancée and a son who’s almost 10 months old. He’s also been increasingly active with his foundation, Blanket Coverage, which assists inner-city kids with their education. Sherman was just named the Seahawks’ Man of the Year for his performance on the field and his charitable work off of it.
Sherman said he wants to continue to help less fortunate people when he retires from the NFL and that he also wants to talk about football for a living. So, how would Richard Sherman the analyst critique the way Richard Sherman the cornerback has played this season?
“He’d say he dropped a few picks early on. He’s dropped some difficult ones, he’s dropped some easy ones. He’d say he’s played great in some games and he’s played not so great in some games,” Sherman said. “The difference between critiquing me and critiquing some of the other people in the league is, a bad game for me is like five catches for like 60 yards given up. An off game for someone else is like 200. Give up 200, that’s just an off game. But for me, you give up 65 yards, they’re like, ‘Oh my god, what’s happening to Richard Sherman? He’s not covering anybody.’
“The bar is different for everybody.”
And Sherman still has the same willingness to speak his mind, even if it seemed like he had quieted down.