First, Richard Sherman makes news for not doing anything because the Green Bay Packers avoid him. Then it’s bigger news when he gets a half-dozen passes thrown his way against the San Diego Chargers.
The loquacious, (almost) always quotable All-Pro cornerback made news after that game for not talking. Three days later, he makes news for talking.
Ahhhhh, it’s all back to normal for Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. One of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world was back in full Sherman mode Wednesday, four days before the Seahawks (1-1) meet the Denver Broncos (2-0) in a Super Bowl rematch at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s humorous. It’s funny to me. It’s funny, really funny,” Sherman said of all this attention for what he doesn’t do as much as for what he does. “Especially when you got little guys like the Chargers’ guys, talking about they ‘exposed’ something — and they had 50, 60 yards (receiving).
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“I mean, (Antonio) Gates, a Hall of Famer, had a fantastic game. And Philip (Rivers) had a great game, you know.
“The rest of the guys were there.”
One of those “little guys” was San Diego’s second-year wide receiver Keenan Allen. He caught the first three throws Rivers sent Sherman’s way in the Chargers’ 30-21 victory Sunday.
Sherman was asked, “Did you get the sense that for some of them it meant more to them to catch a few passes against you …”
“Than to win the game?” Sherman interrupted, thinking of Allen. “That’s what it looked like. I mean, it’s probably something he will tell his kids about — ‘You remember that one game? Caught a few passes against Richard Sherman! Didn’t score. But caught a few!’ ”
Sherman made two tackles in the second half on passes well in front of him in his zone of coverage on the left side of Seattle’s defense. San Diego’s Eddie Royal had the fourth reception directly versus Sherman, a fake cross route that became an out 5 yards in front of Sherman in the second half. In all, it was six targets and five receptions for 60 yards against him.
In the Chargers’ locker room following the game Allen called the NFL’s leader with eight interceptions last season “just a normal guy.”
“We can go at him,” Allen said. “We are not going to shy away from him.”
Allen didn’t stop there.
“He’s not really a shutdown corner,” he said. “We definitely wanted to come out and show we could go any way we wanted to, and that we were in control of the game. Wherever we wanted to go with it, we were going to go with it.”
Wednesday Sherman called that “pretty hilarious.”
“You know when a guy wants to get his name in the paper he’s going to say something crazy,” he said.
Sherman and linebacker Bobby Wagner were the only Seahawks on the field for all 70 of the Chargers’ offensive plays last week.
Sherman on Wednesday also addressed the hub-bub over him not talking to the media in the locker room following Sunday’s game.
“I was literally standing in my locker. Earl (Thomas, then to Sherman’s right) was being interviewed,” he said. “When you come off the field in a 120-degree game, and the locker room is about 90, (you are) probably not going to stand there for an extra hour to wait for everybody to get done doing interviews so I can go. You know, I’m tired and hot, trying to get cool. I sat there, though, I was available. … I didn’t sneak off. … Nobody called for me.”
Sherman said he was confused by “a guy who asked for an interview” in the hallway outside the visitors’ locker room at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday, after he signed a football and two other requests for autographs on his way to the team bus.
The Seahawks’ beat writers were late getting into the locker room in San Diego because coach Pete Carroll was a bit longer than usual getting into his postgame press conference next door. A reporter from The News Tribune only saw Sherman for the first time postgame while the cornerback was walking out of the locker room. That’s when the reporter approached him in the hallway and Sherman replied politely but firmly “I’m not talking.”
“Oh,” Sherman said with a laugh when he got that explanation Wednesday. “That clears that up.”
All this, of course, is the product of Sherman asserting himself as the most outspoken and newsmaking member of a Super Bowl-champion team. Every move — even every nonmove — is now potential fodder for national news and social-media explosions of comically excessive proportions.
“I’ll hear something and tweet something and they’ll be like, ‘You just made it on ESPN with your tweet,’ ” Sherman said. “And I’ll be like, ‘Oh, you know, I guess they’re paying very close attention to what I’m saying.’
“It is what it is.”
As for the actual football ahead, Sherman noted how Denver hasn’t employed the Broncos offense Seattle faced in the Super Bowl because it has added deep threat Emmanuel Sanders for the departed Eric Decker at wide receiver — and because Wes Welker missed the first two games of this season.
Peyton Manning’s favorite target on third down returned to the team for practice Wednesday after the NFL ratified a new drug policy with its players’ union. It reclassifies Welker’s suspension for amphetamine use and frees him to play Sunday.
As Manning said Wednesday of Welker’s return: “That changes things.”
“I think it will spread around pretty good; Peyton always does.” Sherman said. “He’ll complete a lot of passes. He’ll check it down. He spreads the ball out great. I’m sure we’ll be very prepared and everybody will be on it.
“I’m sure they’ve made adjustments and we’ve also made adjustments. It will be a great game. I don’t think the Super Bowl will be indicative of what this game will be. I’m sure it will be a much better game.”
As if to reinforce that Sherman was back to normal, the final question he got was about co-starring in a new commercial with … a llama named Spartacus. Forbes — yes, the cornerback regularly makes Forbes magazine now, too — reported Sherman recently signed a two-year deal with Neff, a leading youth lifestyle brand, that includes Sherman endorsing a sunglasses collection, which will be released in chrome and highlight Seahawks green and blue.
Sherman and the llama are both wearing the new glasses in the spot.
“I did not. I did not foresee that” while growing up in Compton, California, Sherman said, laughing. “Me and Spartacus, we have a pretty cool thing, but … it’s pretty interesting, I can tell you that.”