Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has no interceptions and is ranked 82nd at his position in one assessment. Beginning Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers, Sherman needs to be his old ball-hawkin’, smack-talkin’ self.

Share story

Attention, Seattle — We have a missing-person alert.

The absent party is 27 years old, 6-feet-3 inches tall and was last seen sporting a head full of dreads. At one point, the man was considered the premier trash-talker in football. He also was the best cornerback in the NFL.

Info on his whereabouts would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, Richard Sherman, where art thou? Where is the baddest defender in shoulder pads — the man who dominated the field, mic and Twitterverse with inimitable flair?

There was a time when the only thing more striking than Sherman’s bravado was his production. Through six games, however, both have shriveled like leaves in the fall.

The Seahawks need the old Sherm back, pronto. They need him smack-talkin’ off the field and ball-hawkin’ on it.

Better times still might be around the corner for this football team — but for that to happen, one corner needs to be better.

Entering Thursday’s Seahawks-49ers game, Pro Football Focus has Sherman ranked as the 82nd-best cornerback in the league. Yes, the sample size is relatively small, but the data can’t be dismissed entirely.

Basically, the PFF analysts assign a grade on every play from every game. And fair or not, they haven’t been all that impressed with No. 25.

Perhaps they noted the 11-yard pass to Corey Brown and the 32-yard pass to Greg Olsen — both of which led to touchdowns in the loss to Carolina — and felt as though Sherman got beat. Or maybe they threw down the hammer when Sherman was flagged for pass interference on a 52-yard toss in Green Bay, which led to three points for the Packers.

Whatever the case, solid as Sherman has been for much of the season, he hasn’t been spectacular. Is he the No. 82 corner in the NFL? Heck, no. But he has looked a looong way from No. 1.

On Tuesday, Sherman was told of his grade during his weekly news conference and responded: “Is that right?” He then downplayed the evaluation, said that nothing about his game has been off and warned that critics might not know enough about the coverages to make a proper assessment.

He has a point. Two Sundays ago, it looked as though Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was burned twice for TDs in Cincinnati, but the next day coach Pete Carroll said neither was his fault. So maybe Sherman is fine.

After all, he still scares the bejeezus out of quarterbacks, who target him less than all but three other corners in the league. And he is still damn effective on most pass plays, giving up just 0.79 yards per snap when in primary coverage — good for 14th in the NFL. And in case you forgot, when guarding the Bengals’ A.J. Green, Sherman effectively neutralized one of football’s best receivers.

But remember that tweet he sent out to Darrelle Revis after the 2012 season — the one in which he mentioned his eight interceptions and three forced fumbles before advising Revis to “get your picks up”?

Well, this year, Sherman has zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles.

Sherman, of course, doesn’t send tweets like that these days. He doesn’t talk himself up while standing on the podium, either.

On Tuesday he was asked if there were any plays that stood out when he looked back on his battles with the San Francisco 49ers. He couldn’t think of any. Yup, his tip that led to an interception that won the NFC championship in 2014 somehow slipped his mind.

Seems times have changed for Sherman just as they have for the Seahawks. A corner who once was the edgiest in the league now plays for a team that’s lost its edge. Who knows? Maybe it’s time for Sherman to go retro. He doesn’t have to go out and degrade anybody, but maybe talking that junk could help lift Seattle out of its funk.

Or maybe he just needs to make a big play.

Last season, Sherman had only one pick through 11 games. Then he went on the road against San Francisco, intercepted Colin Kaepernick twice, waved goodbye to Niners fans and ate turkey on the field. If there was ever a game in which the Hawks need that type of performance from their three-time All-Pro, it’s Thursday night.

So now’s the time, Richard — get your picks up.

Because your team could really use a pick-me-up.