By John Boyle Herald Columnist
RENTON — It was barely more than a year ago that Richard Sherman declared, in one of his more famous rants — and there have been many — that he was “Better at life than you.”
That rather comical line was directed at ESPN’s Skip Bayless at the time, but 15 months later, it turns out Sherman might have been talking to all of us. Because really, who has been better at life in 2014 than Richard Sherman?
To recap, Sherman’s 2014 started off with three postseason victories, including an NFC championship game that saw him make the game-clinching play, and a Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos. Since Sherman became a Super Bowl champion, and since he raised his national profile with his postgame tirade after the NFC championship game — and the last few months have shown that rant to be as brilliant now as it seemed controversial at the time — he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people; he landed multiple national endorsement deals, he was name-checked by President Barack Obama, both at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and the Seahawks’ visit to the White House; he signed a huge contract extension; he was invited to speak at the Harvard business school; and now this week he was named the cover boy for the latest addition of EA Sports’ popular Madden NFL video game.
So when Sherman was asked Monday whether he would pick the current version of himself as a player or the players he used to create in Madden, it was fitting that he answered, “I’ll take myself now. He’s doing all right in this league.”
He’s doing all right in more than the NFL. Richard Sherman is doing all right in life these days, and his busy and lucrative 2014 serves as proof.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Sherman said of the past five months. “It’s one of those years to remember. Winning the Super Bowl and then all of the accolades and the things that came along with it are wonderful. You can never quantify what that means and never expect things that happened to happen, but you take it for what it is and you enjoy the moment and get ready to do it again.”
And that desire to do it again is the most important thing for Sherman and the Seahawks if their 2014 is going to finish as strongly as it started. It would be easy to see Sherman starring in commercials, or appearing at Harvard one day, the White House another, then in Los Angles yet another, and wonder if he might be enjoying his success a little bit too much to be focused on the upcoming season. But then you see Sherman as feisty as ever during a May or June session of organized team activities and you realize that, even though considerably richer and more famous, Sherman is still the same competitor between the lines.
“He’s had a great offseason,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “I don’t know that he’s missed a day the whole time. His work ethic is perfect, his attitude every day is here, his competitiveness, every day, and he does a great job of leading in that regard.”
Back when Sherman signed his contract extension, which included $40 million in guaranteed money, he said he wouldn’t change because he’s still a “raggedy dog,” and despite a much higher profile, the early indications are that he is indeed in the right state of mind to continue the amazing run he has been on not just this calendar year, but going back to the 2012 season, and even the latter part of his rookie year when he was a promising late-season standout.
“Still the raggedy dog,” Sherman said following Monday’s OTA. “That never goes away. You can’t change how you were raised. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you can’t take away where he’s from, and that’s what it’s always going to come down to.”
At one point, Sherman was interrupted by teammate and close friend Doug Baldwin, who wanted to clarify something about Sherman’s very good year.
“He has enjoyed the past couple of months, but he hasn’t enjoyed the past couple of weeks, because he’s been getting torched out here on the practice field,” Baldwin said before conceding, “they had one good day today.”
Sherman quickly responded, “You can only have one good day in 24 hours, Doug. If we could have had two, we would have.”
Well played, Richard, well played. You’d think Baldwin, of all people would have known better than to go after Sherman on this day. After all, 2014 has been Sherman’s year. And if he and the Seahawks have their way, they’re just getting started.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys who want to be in the Hall of Fame and want to do greater things than win just one Super Bowl,” Sherman said. “You could even see that after the (Super Bowl) — guys were sitting there like, ‘What’s next?’ If we had to play another game after that, we’d have loved to, because we have that intensity and tenacity and hunger for the game. I think it’s the love for the game that allows us to not be complacent. That’s why you’ve got All-Pros and Pro-Bowlers out here every day of OTAs playing like they’re still fifth-(round) and undrafted players trying to fight for a job. That’s how it’s always going to be.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.