I used to wonder which Seahawk would have the brightest broadcasting career. No doubt that locker room has been replete with some of the most dynamic personalities to ever grace the NFL.
There was the ever-candid Michael Bennett, the inquisitive Doug Baldwin, the genuine KJ Wright, the engaging Bobby Wagner, the polished Russell Wilson and, well … this can go on for paragraphs.
But a few years ago, the clear front runner for sound bite superstardom was cornerback Richard Sherman — a future Hall of Famer who seemed like he’d have a desk and an earpiece ready for him as soon as he retired.
Now? I just don’t know. In terms of using his voice, the man has gone from great to grating.
Last week, the 33-year-old Sherman teed off on Seahawks fans in a bizarre but growingly predictable fashion. On his podcast, he said that the 12s “hate accountability” and that “these fans had never won anything before we got here. They have never won anything. They went to the Super Bowl in ’06 and were happy to be there, and that was their biggest claim. And then we get there, we win a Super Bowl, we spoiled them with historic defense and then all of a sudden that’s their expectation.”
One of the more annoying tendencies athletes have is overgeneralizing with words like “they” or “everyone.” “They said we couldn’t do it! Everyone doubted us!
Um, who exactly are you talking about? There is no doubt that the otherworldly talent Seattle produced in the Legion of Boom days helped turn the Seahawks from also-rans to rock stars. The city’s sports enthusiasm skyrocketed, and Lumen Field has been an eardrum buster ever since.
But to say these fans “hate accountability?” (I’m not even sure what that means) That they’re “spoiled” and expect to win the Super Bowl every year now? It might be true for some — but the words seemed to come from a place of hostility rather than an appreciation for a fanbase that idolized this man.
There were a lot of other interesting tidbits from Sherman’s podcast. He lamented how the Seahawks were likely to get rid of star linebacker Bobby Wagner, “even if he’s three year past his prime.” He mentioned how the idea of letting quarterback Russell Wilson “cook,” as many fans liked to put it, was never, and would never be, a championship formula. He pointed out how there hasn’t been an All-Pro corner on the Seahawks since he left, and that Seattle is misguided in letting aging stars get away.
Mike Salk of 710 ESPN thoughtfully responded to many of the comments, but here’s my question: What’s Sherman’s legacy going to be with the fans here?
True, he likely had the most iconic play in Seahawks history when he tipped Colin Kaepernick’s pass into Malcolm Smith’s hands to send Seattle to the Super Bowl. If a Sherman statue is ever erected outside of Lumen Field, that will likely be the image.
And for much of his career, he was the most approachable player in the locker room — always good for a straightforward, insightful and/or comedic response. But something happened — and it hasn’t seemed to go away.
The Richard Sherman moments that stand out to me over the past few years are him blowing up on the sideline — whether it be at Pete Carroll or then defensive coordinator Kris Richard — over strategic disagreements. It’s him threatening to ruin radio host Jim Moore’s career over a question he didn’t like, then boycotting the media after saying “you’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”
Granted, there have been tender moments. His tear-filled news conference after tearing his Achilles and realizing his time with the Seahawks might be over was poignant. And when he and Wilson exchanged jerseys in 2019, it seemed to squash much of the bad blood the two were thought to have shared.
But there’s also been a whole lot of cringe.
Whenever I write about Sherman, most of the emails I get tend to be unfavorable toward the legendary cornerback. They were grateful for what he did here, but also glad that he moved on. I look at players such as Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor or Wagner and know that they will receive a thunderous ovation anytime they show up at Lumen Field. I sometimes wonder if Sherman would get the same greeting.
I don’t want to be the guy that faults someone for saying what’s on their mind. But, well … there are certain exceptions.