Inside the Game Column

More should aspire to be like Sherman

By Jeff Denton | Jan 30, 2014
Photo by: file Jeff Denton

After four quarters of intense, hotly-contested football in the NFC championship, the Seattle Seahawks came away with a 23-17 victory, thanks to the dramatic play in the end zone by cornerback Richard Sherman.
However, no one is talking about that key play.
Rather, everyone is talking, analyzing, debating and opining Sherman’s postgame rant with FOX field reporter Erin Andrews.
Sherman gave a passionate speech about being the best cornerback in the NFL and warned 49ers’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree to never disrespect him again.
It was a pass to Crabtree that was broken up in the corner of the end zone by Sherman, intercepted by his teammate Malcolm Smith with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
After a few seconds of celebration, Sherman ran to a dispirited Crabtree, exchanged words, which eventually resulted in a unsportsmanlike penalty on the Seahawks’ corner.
Shortly after the incident, Sherman made a choking sign directed toward the 49ers’ sideline.
Moments after the game, social media blew up with a majority of negative comments of Sherman and his post-game remarks.
However, I do not believe Sherman did anything wrong. I simply think his actions and comments were simply an emotional outburst.
Better yet, Sherman wore his emotions on his sleeve, which is a common trait among successful athletes.
A passionate Sherman expressed to the viewing audience that he is the best corner in the game of football.
I agree with him.
In three seasons in the NFL, he has amassed 168 total tackles, 20 interceptions, and 227 interception return yards. Beyond his impressive statistics, quarterbacks do not like to test him and are even reluctant to throw in the vicinity of Sherman.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick did and how did that work out for him and the 49ers?
Reflecting on his explosive interview, Sherman said, “to those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
This is the very powerful statement.
Richard Sherman is a loud, arrogant football player, but he’s also the best in the NFL. He is an intense, passionate competitor who will cross the line at times on the field. But off the field, he  is a well-spoken, articulate, educated man, who travels to high schools and challenges kids to be the best they can be.
He is the leader of a movement called Students with a Goal and gives speeches about focusing on a goal and never giving up or being distracted by temptations.
Far too often we focus on simply the play and actions on the field and forget about the men inside the pads.
Sherman has a rare combination of passion for the game and passion for the world around him. Yes, his interview was showy and over the top, but it was spoken by a man who was still filled with emotion.
Richard Sherman is the kind of person and player that all professional athletes should aspire to be.