Seattle Seahawks

Richard Sherman humbled by his offseason in more ways than one

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman reaches for the ball during practice on June 1 in Renton.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman reaches for the ball during practice on June 1 in Renton. The Associated Press

Richard Sherman has a retort for critics who say he doesn’t play enough man-to-man.

Two kids at home.

This offseason, Sherman’s fiancée, Ashley, bore the Seahawks’ three-time All-Pro cornerback a daughter. Baby Avery joins their 16-month-old son, Jayden.

How’s that going, Pops?

“Three hours of sleep last night. Two kids of your own,” Sherman deadpanned last week.

“One’s kicking you in the back of the head. The other one’s screaming. But yeah, it’s one-on-one coverage. They say I don’t play man-to-man? Come on now.”

Sherman’s addition to his suburban King County home is about the only part of his offseason that hasn’t been normal.

First, he’s healthy. He’d been that for his first five offseasons in the NFL. But this time last year he was recovering from torn ligaments in his elbow. He played Super Bowl 49 with those in February 2015.

“Yeah, I guess it feels back to normal. I’m six years in now, so that was one odd year of being injured,” he said. “Guys are more healthy this year.”

That includes Earl Thomas. The fellow member of Seattle’s renowned “Legion of Boom” secondary is at full health for these OTAs, which end with three more practices this week. Thomas spent last spring recuperating a separated shoulder.

Wednesday, Thomas was his usual ornery self. With the first-team defense off watching reserves scrimmage, the star safety came off the sideline to disrupt a pass route by undrafted rookie Tre Madden in the open field.

Yes, it was June 1, with no pads. Coach Pete Carroll jogged down the sidelines to throw his own flag for that trick.

The other reason Sherman feels more back to normal this offseason: Brandon Browner is back in the secondary.

The Seahawks signed their starting cornerback from their 2013 Super Bowl-championship season this spring to a nonguaranteed, one-year deal for a veteran-minimum salary. The rugged, intense Browner, at 6 foot 4 and 220 pounds, is practicing as a sort of rover cover man so far for a Seahawks defense that has led the league in fewest points allowed for four consecutive seasons. Seattle expects Browner to be a 31-year-old specialized defender matching up inside or out, depending on how big the opposing receiver is this fall.

Sherman is such a fan of Browner, he’s had his No. 39 Seahawks jersey hanging in his home since Browner left for New England in free agency in 2014 — then a painful, penalty-filled year in New Orleans in 2015.

“It’s great. It’s fantastic. It’s like he never left,” Sherman said. “Guys — obviously, we kept in touch with him over the years, so it hasn’t changed very much from that perspective. But it’s just fun. He brings a different element to the locker room. He’s a glue guy. He can play the game still. Obviously, he had an off year in New Orleans. But we understand what he can do, and sometimes you can get in a bad spot.”

Sherman, 28, flew across the country last month to support the other member of the Seahawks’ original Legion of Boom: Kam Chancellor. Two weeks ago, he participated at Chancellor’s annual “Bam Bam Spring Jam” basketball and charity event in the strong safety’s hometown of Norfolk, Virginia.

Sherman posted on his Instagram account a photo of him meeting and embracing an obviously emotional boy courtside at Chancellor’s celebrity hoops game.

“That was a really cool moment,” Sherman said. “It kind of takes you back to when you are a little kid. The kid came up. His mom was going to take the picture. He was just a big fan. He had been through a lot in his life. He kind of looked to me for inspiration, academically and athletically. He started to do a lot better.

“The kid started to cry. The mom kind of started to cry. You know, you’ve just got to remember, kind of gives you a perspective of the impact that you have on these kids. And you start to remember — I remember when I first met Magic Johnson when I was a kid, and having a similar feeling: just in awe. Just not having any words to say. To think I have that kind of impact on a kid it really, really pushes you to work harder. And it’s humbling.”

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