What You Don’t Know About: Richard Sherman

Share
Share

Welcome to Tuesdays with Richard Bobby and Cliff on Thursdays. This week, as part of Richard Sherman’s weekly series, we’re flipping the script. Instead of Richard taking you behind the scenes, we lined up his teammates Bobby Wagner and Cliff Avril to give you a glimpse of the Richard they know — the one you don’t get to see. Take it away, guys.


Bobby Wagner
Bro, what day is it?

Cliff Avril
Friday.

Bobby
We totally missed Thursday.

Cliff
That’s alright. We were busy. Had a good week of practice, some late meetings. It’s all good. I think people will understand.

Bobby
Yeah, I guess we have an excuse. But I do like the sound of Tuesdays with Bobby and Cliff on Thursdays.

Cliff
That’s not bad. I can get with that.

Bobby
Sherm might not get his spot back next week….

Cliff
Well let’s talk a little bit about Sherm. That’s why we’re here, right?

Bobby
That’s the idea … let’s talk about how he’s terrible at Ping-Pong.

Cliff
Wooooo! Now Ping-Pong is something serious. I was gonna ease into that stuff, but if you want to get right to it, let’s go.

Bobby
Nah, you’re right. Let’s wait. What you got?

Cliff
I was gonna start right from the top, back when I first met Sherm. Actually, even before that, when I was still in Detroit with the Lions. This was back when the whole Darrelle Revis vs. Sherman battle was going on about who was the best corner in the game.

You know me. I’m a quiet guy. So I was seeing all Sherm’s press conferences, hearing him talk smack about Revis, seeing the back and forth on social media, and I was like, Who is this loudmouth up in Seattle?

I didn’t know much about his play on the field. I just thought he talked too much. Haha.

Bobby
Haha. I didn’t know anything about Sherm when the Seahawks drafted me out of Utah State in 2012. I came in with a clean slate, and I just remember that he embraced me as soon as I walked into the building. He was real chill, and he showed me a lot of love. So he made a great first impression on me.

I didn’t know much about his play on the field. I just thought he talked too much.

Cliff
Oh, definitely. That’s one of the things most people don’t realize about him. The way he’s portrayed in the media and what you see on TV is the complete opposite of who he really is. On Sundays, you see this wild, crazy dude talking trash, dreads flying all over the place. It’s pure chaos. But then you see the other side of him off the field, and that’s who he really is.

Bobby
Yeah, I’ve gotten to know the many sides of Richard Sherman as the years have passed. There’s a lot going on with that guy.

Cliff
There definitely is. I still thought he was just some loudmouth when I signed with the Seahawks in 2013. But I remember that he tweeted at me right away to congratulate me, and I thought that was pretty cool. Then, when I arrived in Seattle and met him for the first time, he was completely different than what I had expected. It was like you said, Bobby — all love. He said he was happy to have me on the squad, and then he said, “Let’s go win a championship.”

So I realized pretty quickly — and I’ve noticed it even more over time — that everything he does is calculated. People don’t realize how intelligent he is. The Revis battles, the Crabtree incident — everything you’ve seen him say or do on TV or in the media is all part of his master plan. He was trying to build a brand. Now that he’s established one, he’s trying to sustain it.

Bobby
Right. What you see on TV is his game mode — his game face. That’s still him, but that’s not the real Sherm.

Think about the sideline thing that went down a few weeks ago against the Falcons, where he got a little crazy. Where were you in all that, Cliff?

usatsi_8898216

On Sundays, you see this wild, crazy dude talking trash, dreads flying all over the place. It’s pure chaos. But then you see the other side.

Cliff Avril

Cliff
Oh, I was hanging back, man. I like to let things calm down before I go talk to somebody. I let him cool off and hollered at him after.

Bobby
Well, I was right up in front of his face. Haha. I was trying to bring him back down to earth.

Honestly, I think people made a much bigger deal about it than we did. People see that on TV and they think he’s losing his cool or whatever. But we know that’s just him being passionate about what he does.

Cliff
Right. And that’s one of the things that makes him great.

Bobby
Exactly. He needs that fire to do what he does on the field. But I felt like I had to get in there and let him know that we all shared his passion, and that he wasn’t alone. That’s why we all started jumping up and down and rallying around him — so he knew we had his back and that he didn’t feel like he had to go out there and do it all by himself.

He’s definitely comfortable in his own skin if he can go out on the town in Seattle wearing sweats and some fuzzy slippers.

Cliff
And we went out and got a win.

Bobby
Yessir. Everybody in the media made a big deal about it, but we laughed it off and went back to work. We all thought it was funny.

Cliff
Yeah, man. He’s not like that all the time. I don’t think anybody could maintain that level of intensity day in and day out in everyday life. It would be exhausting.

Bobby
Yeah. Anybody who wears slippers everywhere he goes can’t be that intense.

Cliff
Oh, you mean his Uggs?

Bobby
He wears them everywhere. Press conferences, to the mall, out to eat — he’s definitely comfortable in his own skin if he can go out on the town in Seattle wearing sweats and some fuzzy slippers.

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman (25) looks up from the sideline with his helmet off during a NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, October 16, 2016 in Seattle. The Seahawks won the game 26-24. (Paul Jasienski via AP)

Cliff
I asked him about it one time, like, “Sherm, what’s up with the slippers?”

He said, “Sometimes you gotta let them dogs out.”

You know, we’re in cleats a lot of the time. So he’s just trying to let those puppies breathe. I get that.

He got me into the Uggs game at one point, but then they started hurting my feet. I’m a big guy. Not enough support. I don’t know how he does it. But he loves them.

Bobby
He even wears them when we play Ping-Pong in the locker room.

Cliff
You really want to talk about Ping-Pong, don’t you?…

Bobby
Well it was you guys who took it up to another level this season and got all competitive with it.

Let’s talk about how he’s terrible at Ping-Pong.

Cliff
What are you talking about?

Bobby
Alright, so let me tell you guys at home how it went down….

At the beginning of the 2015 season, nobody in the locker room really played Ping-Pong. I think it started with Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan and a couple of other guys. There was a table way in the back room, and we would hear them yelling and screaming and getting into it. So one by one, other guys started to get in on it.

It got to be so many guys that they brought the table out into the locker room. At first, everybody was kind of reserved. A lot of us didn’t know how to play or hadn’t ever played, so we were just messing around. Then, as we kept playing, it started getting competitive, and we started really going at it.

That’s how I started playing.

Cliff
That’s how I started playing, too. I had never really played before.

Bobby
I think that’s how Richard started playing, too. We were just messing around. But like with any game you drop in the middle of a locker room full of alphas, it got competitive, quick.

Seattle Seahawks' Bobby Wagner, right, celebrates with Seahawks' Richard Sherman (25) after Sherman intercepted a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch (84) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

I don’t think there will ever be another Richard Sherman. Ever.

Bobby Wagner

Cliff
Yeah, it got heated.

Bobby
But I didn’t realize how serious it had gotten until I came back for OTA’s this off-season….

I come back, and Sherm says, “Yo, let’s play a game.” So I pass him a paddle, and he’s like, “Nah, I got my own paddle.” And he pulls out this custom paddle with his RS25 logo and his name on it. Then I see Cliff, and he’s got his own custom paddle, too. So I’m like, O.K., I see we’re taking this to another level this year.

That’s when we started having crazy tournaments — especially during camp. You have some downtime in camp because you’re there all day, and when you get bored, you gotta have something to take your mind off of football. So we played Ping-Pong.

I got really good just because I played Sherm and Cliff pretty much every day, whenever we had a break.

Cliff
Sherm was all about it. If we had even five minutes between meetings or before a walk-through, he’d be like, “Yo, let’s play a quick game … to five.” And if we ever get into an argument now over something — anything — we settle it on the Ping-Pong table.

If you lose in Ping-Pong, you’re leaving the facility mad, and you can’t wait to get back the next day and play again so you can redeem yourself.

Bobby
And there’s a lot of trash-talking.

Cliff
A lot.

Bobby
It gets serious. You could have had a great practice, but if you lose in Ping-Pong, you’re leaving the facility mad, and you can’t wait to get back the next day and play again so you can redeem yourself.

Cliff
It’s good, though. It keeps the competitive juices flowing and allows us to let off some steam.

Me and Sherm have had some pretty epic battles….

Bobby
Yeah, but his form is terrible. Somehow he finds a way to keep it on the table. I don’t know how. But he has no form. It’s like you said before about his play on the field. How’d you say it? “A wild, crazy dude talking trash, dreads flying all over the place,” or something like that?

Cliff
Yeah. Haha. Pure chaos.

Bobby
Don’t get me wrong, Sherm has his good days on the Ping-Pong table. But the majority of the time — at least when he plays me — he’s not too hot.

Cliff
Me and Sherm don’t really keep count, but we take mental notes on who’s ahead in the all-time series. Right now, I would say I’m probably up by like six games.

Bobby
But if you ask him he’ll probably say he’s up six games.

Cliff
Haha. Yeah. True.

Bobby
We gotta get you out to Sherm’s house to play basketball one day, Cliff.

Cliff
Oh yeah? I’ll get down.

Bobby
That is … if he ever lets me play there again. Haha.

Cliff
What do you mean?

Bobby
So, a while back, I played Sherm one-on-one, and I beat him on his home court. If you ask him, he’ll say there was an offensive foul. But let me tell you what really happened….

I was ahead the whole game, and he made a comeback and tied it up. So it’s my ball, next point wins. I drive to the basket and use my God-given gifts — I was blessed with a big body — to go up strong for a layup. Sherm just so happens to be in the way, and my body moved his body out the way, and I hit the game-winning layup.

I didn’t wanna do it to him. It’s not my fault that I’m bigger than him. It’s his fault for not doing more push-ups. Haha. But he asked for it, and I had to deliver.

It’s not my fault that I’m bigger than him. It’s his fault for not doing more push-ups.

Cliff
O.K. I got you.

Bobby
So I won the game — literally went into his backyard and beat him — and to this day, he wants to put an asterisk next to it because he says there was an offensive foul.

And we haven’t played since.

Cliff
I have a feeling you’ll play again after he reads this … but if we don’t play at his house, we gotta hit LA Fitness again. You remember when we all rolled up there together and played?

Bobby
Yeah. I think it was me, you, Sherm, Earl Thomas, Mike Bennett and Doug Baldwin. It was kind of unfair, haha, all of us on the same team.

Cliff
Sherm had some game, though.

Bobby
Yeah, all jokes aside, Sherm does have some game. He’s exactly what you’d expect him to be: He’s great on defense, always in guys’ faces. He hustles for rebounds on both sides and sits in the corner and spots up for three-pointers on offense.

And you were ballin’ out, too, Cliff. You flashed some handles, had a good post game. But I didn’t know you could dunk.

Cliff
Yeah, man. I still got it.

Bobby
Remember that putback? A guy missed a shot, and you caught it off the rim with both hands and threw it down. I was surprised. I knew you were athletic, but I didn’t know you had that in you.

Cliff
And we were playing against some community college guys and semipro guys, too. So it wasn’t like we were playing against some Average Joes.

Bobby
Definitely not. But we had a good time. It was cool because we always play football with each other, but we never get to be on the same team when playing another sport. It’s always Ping-Pong or something, where we’re up against each other. So it was cool to just enjoy that moment, playing a different game together.

Cliff
Definitely.

Bobby
So we’ve been ragging on Sherm pretty hard here … think we should lighten up a little?

Cliff
Yeah, let’s give him a break. I mean, we can’t talk about Richard Sherman and who he is without talking about what makes him such a great guy and a great teammate, too.

Bobby
Definitely. And it’s the little things, man. It really is. I know that whenever I need something, I can call Sherm. But most of the time, you don’t even have to ask.

One time, after practice, I told him that my daughter wanted to see him. She was talking to me that morning, saying, “I haven’t seen Uncle Richard in a while. When am I gonna see him?”

So I told Sherm.

“Let’s make it happen,” he said.

“Well, she’s at school right now.”

“Then let’s go pick her up.”

And he jumped in my car with me so she could see him.

Cliff
That’s cool.

Bobby
Right? It’s such a small thing, but it meant a lot to me, and I know it meant a lot to my daughter. I mean, this is a guy who went out after a game recently to hand out backpacks with food and supplies to homeless people, and he invited me to come along. It was a random thing — just something he wanted to do. So we went to at a homeless shelter and handed stuff out. I thought that was so cool, and it’s something that most people would never think he’d do just based on what they see on TV and how he’s portrayed by the media.

Cliff
Even something as small as coming to my foundation dinner. I mean, he knows he’s gonna get hassled — because he’s Richard Sherman and everybody’s gonna want to talk to him. But it’s a no-brainer for him. He’s always there.

We create our own energy, and he’s the leader in that.

Bobby
He sets that tone, too. I think if you ask anybody in our locker room to come out to one of your events, they’ll do it if they can, because that’s just how our locker room is. And Sherm was one of the first guys to establish that culture.

Cliff
Definitely. And my event is on a Monday, after a game. Haha. So you know guys are tired and sore, but they break their Monday recovery routine to come out and support me. That speaks volumes. Especially when Sherman could easily big-time me and not show. Instead, he shows up, on time, and enjoys himself — or at least he acts like he enjoys himself. Haha. Big ups to him, because he doesn’t have to do that.

Bobby
And I don’t think you can overstate what he brings on the field and at practice.

Cliff
No way. His work ethic is unreal.

Bobby
Not only that, but you’ve been out at practice sometimes when it’s midseason, and you’re doing the same thing every day, and it gets mundane. Practice starts getting a little dull. Maybe the music isn’t as loud as it normally is and guys just aren’t feeling it that day. The energy just isn’t there.

Then Richard will come out talking trash to get the offense going. He starts it, and then the other guys on defense start talking along with him. Eventually, the offense starts getting into it and talking back. And before you know it, we have a great practice going. Everybody is high-energy, knocking balls down or trying to make a play, and it gets fun.

We create our own energy, and he’s the leader in that.

Cliff
You need a guy like that on your team.

Bobby
You do. Every team needs one. If you don’t have one, you’re bound to lose intensity somewhere during the season, and that’s how slumps and losing streaks happen.

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 26:  Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up before a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 26, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

I think people need to embrace him more while he’s still playing this game. Too often, people wait until somebody’s gone before they truly appreciate them.

Bobby Wagner

Cliff
He always sets a great example, too. I mean, this is a guy who goes hard every single day. I know there have been times when he was hurting, and I was like, “Bro, sit your behind down.” Or, “We just played 100-something plays. Take a break.”

But he feels like he has to be out there, even though he could easily say, “I’m Richard Sherman. I don’t have to do this.”

It’s pretty cool when your superstars put in as much work as everybody else.

That’s the type of leader he is.

Bobby
You know what Sherm does at the end of every season?

Cliff
What?

Bobby
He responds to all his fan mail.

I remember he taught me to do that when I was younger and had just come into the league. He said to me, “People take the time to write these letters, so you gotta take the time to respond. Maybe one day one of our kids will write to their favorite player, and you’d hope their favorite player would take the time to respond to them.”

So I started doing that, and I still do it to this day.

Cliff
That’s pretty cool.

Bobby
Yeah. And that’s just one of the lessons I’ve taken from him. I think I’ve also learned a lot from him just watching the way he takes his time trying to understand different situations, and the intelligence and perspective he uses to consider every possible outcome.

Take a look at the field goal on Monday night against the Bills. He jumped offside, and there was no whistle. He could have stopped, and a lot of people have criticized him, saying he should have. Or he could have laid out in front of the kicker to block the kick, which a lot of people said he should have done.

But he went for the ball because he not only understood the situation, but he also understood every possible outcome. He didn’t want them to get the kick off, but he also didn’t want to give the holder an opportunity to pull it back and run or throw for what could have been a touchdown. He had the awareness and the intelligence to make that decision in a split second, which is why he went directly for the ball while it was still on the ground.

Richard Sherman, Dan Carpenter

Cliff
Right. We all know he wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt anybody. He was making the play that he decided needed to be made. And he did it full speed, the only way he knows how.

Bobby
I didn’t even think anything of it when it happened. Then it became this huge story that everybody was talking about.

When you’re on top, everyone’s gonna try and bring you down. It comes with the territory.

Cliff
It’s crazy how quickly people will turn on you. People were calling him every name in the book after that play. But he’s used to that, so it was no big deal for him.

In fact, that’s a testament to the caliber of player he is. If that was some other guy — just another player — nobody would have cared. They wouldn’t be bashing him like that. But when you’re on top, everyone’s gonna try and bring you down. It comes with the territory.

Bobby
True. That’s how it is. And he’s gonna be himself, 24/7. He’s gonna say the things other people think, but are too afraid to say. He’s gonna shoot it to you straight, no matter who you are or what the topic is.

Cliff
That’s Sherm.

Bobby
And I think we can get out of here on this — and I don’t say this just because he’s one of my closest friends, but because it’s true: I don’t think there will ever be another Richard Sherman. Ever. I think people need to embrace him more while he’s still playing this game. Too often, people wait until somebody’s gone before they truly appreciate them.

Look at a guy like Marshawn Lynch. It’s like people like him more now than they did when he was playing. Even the media.

Sherm should get that same kind of respect and appreciation — while he’s still playing. I don’t think people should wait until he’s done to look back and appreciate everything he does and who he really is.

Cliff
Amen.

“Am I About to Die?”

My whole body was numb. I couldn’t move my arms. I couldn’t move my head. I couldn’t talk. All I could do was move my eyes. I was thinking: Am I deaf? Am I paralyzed? What is going on? Am I about to die?

Read More