Richard Sherman is the most complete cornerback in the NFL because he's not a cornerback.
This morning, I heard an unnamed fan of another team say some pretty mean things about Sherman -- this is not uncommon. People who don't follow the Seahawks only get bits of Sherman like the one we saw last night after the game, and so they form an opinion based on those bits. They judge an iceberg by the tip. And the truth is that most of the time whats under water is still just a lot more of the same ice, but you never know if maybe there's a magical Seahorse kingdom under there.
I mean, you can't prove there isn't. Definitely not you. I highly doubt that one of you is an underwater, Arctic, 21st century explorer.
It made me think again about the perception of Sherman by other fans, not as a loud-mouth trash-talker, but more of what the fans are not saying about Sherman. Because typically when you see a loud-mouth trash-talker in the NFL, you also see a "locker room cancer," a "distraction," and "good talent wasted by cockiness and selfishness."
People don't really say those things about Sherman, though. They talk about how he's cocky, they call him some of the dirtiest names in the "50 Dirty Yo Mama Jokes" handbook, and they know he's a loud-mouthed trash-talker, but nobody seems to hold the belief that the Seattle Seahawks aren't 100-percent better because of Richard Sherman. Not just because of his play, but also because of his mouth.
Why don't the two go hand-in-hand with Sherman like they have always done with players like Terrell Owens or Dez Bryant?
Typically, the cockiest guy on the team is the wide receiver. Because they're constantly battling in one-on-one matchups with top cornerbacks, and doing the touchdown scoring, and making "the unbelievable play," it's the receiver that often does the loudest talking. And what they're usually saying is, "GET ME THE DAMN BALL!"
Woah woah woah, hey buddy. This is a team game. This isn't about you, this isn't about one individual, if you're open I will get you the ball.
"NO EXCUSES, GIVE ME THE DAMN BALL."
It is selfish.
Well, Sherman was a wide receiver. He played it for over two years at Stanford, catching 81 passes for 1,340 yards, but the truth is that if Sherman hadn't suffered a season-ending knee injury during his junior year, he might not be in the NFL today.
Sherman switched to the other side of the ball and played two years as a cornerback. Same attitude, same mouth, same nose for the ball as an item "you must catch," but no selfishness. Why? Because naturally cornerbacks can't be selfish. If you want the ball, Richard Sherman, you're going to have to go out there and take it. That guy on the other side of the field throwing passes? That's not your quarterback. That's not your "Tony Romo" to yell at. That's someone else's quarterback and you can't tell him to throw the ball in your direction.
You have to dare him.
Sherman is unnaturally playing the wrong position but naturally doing amazing at it. He's an incredibly fortunate accident for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. He's the lab experiment mistake, the average Joe that fell into toxic waste and became a superhero, the fish out of water that defies a nation and leads a mishmash band of "nobodies" to victory.
So when he talks, people listen. And every single person in that locker room, has got his back.
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