RENTON — Since helping the Seahawks win the Super Bowl last February, Richard Sherman has spoken on race at the Harvard Business School.
He’s been singled out by President Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner; accompanied the rest of his teammates as the Seahawks were honored at the White House; and become one of the leading pitchmen in the NFL, in just the last few weeks landing coveted cover roles on cans of Campbell’s Chunky Soup and EA Sports’ Madden NFL 15 video game.
He’s also become one of the most handsomely compensated players in the NFL, recently signing a new deal that could pay him more than $57 million through the 2018 season.
But any idea that the shiny new contract or myriad off-field commitments have changed his priorities is mistaken, coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
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“He’s had a great offseason,’’ Carroll said after the Seahawks began their final week of organized team activities. “I don’t know that he’s missed maybe a day the whole time. His work ethic is perfect. His attitude every day is here, competitiveness every day. Does a great job of leading.”
Sherman shrugged and said he’s simply doing what he’s always done. The success and the money, he said, won’t change the fact that just three years ago he was a fifth-round draft pick, regarded by most of the NFL as an afterthought. And though he may be on the verge of becoming a player whose notoriety transcends what he accomplishes on the field, he said he also understands that everything coming his way is due to what happens between the lines on Sundays.
“When you are a ballplayer at heart, this is what you sleep, breathe and eat and then (the field) is where you want to be,” Sherman said. “I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else because you just feel the itch to be back on the field, to be back with your teammates, to be back out there getting better. Because like they say, you never stay the same. You are getting better or you are getting worse. And if you are not out there on the field, it’s hard to get better.”
Sherman said he thinks that’s an attitude also shared by teammates. He has noted on several occasions that while the mood in the locker room after the Super Bowl was celebratory, there was also a feeling of wishing there were still more games to play. That feeling of still being somewhat unfulfilled, he said, will prevent any worries of the team having a post-Super Bowl letdown.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys who want to be in the Hall of Fame and do greater things than just winning one Super Bowl,’’ he said. “And I think you could even see that after the game. Guys were sitting there like ‘what’s next?’ I think if we had to play another game, we would have loved to, because we have that kind of intensity and tenacity and hunger for the game. I think it’s more about the love of the game that allows us to not get complacent.”
Sherman also isn’t worried about the so-called Madden Curse, the propensity of players who appear on the cover of the video game to suffer either an injury or a subpar season the following year. Instead, he noted that Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson had another standout season when he was on the cover, and joked that it didn’t touch Barry Sanders when he was featured after having retired.
“When he got up out of his bed he (Sanders) twisted his ankle,” Sherman said, laughing. “I don’t know. … I don’t think about anything like that. It’s just something that has been fabricated.”
• Rookie receiver Paul Richardson sat out the workout after falling and banging his shoulder last week. But Carroll said it is not serious and Richardson should be back for minicamp next week.
• Carroll intimated that linebacker Bruce Irvin, who had hip surgery last week, should be ready for the start of the season. He said Irvin had issues with the hip for a while and it was finally decided to have the surgery and do it now to allow time to recover for the start of the season. “He’s dealt with it for a long time and it just got to a point where we thought it was better to have a chance to have him back for the start of the season, which is a possibility,’’ Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens.’’
• QB Tarvaris Jackson was not present due to what Carroll said was a family issue. With Jackson out, Terrelle Pryor ran the No. 2 offense. Running back Marshawn Lynch also was again not present.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org