Richard Sherman was at the center of perhaps the most dramatic moment in the Seahawks-49ers rivalry, his tip of a Colin Kaepernick pass leading to a Malcolm Smith interception that sent Seattle to the Super Bowl following the 2013 season.
Thursday night, he’ll find himself still in the middle of things as the two teams meet again, but this time on center stage as part of the Amazon Prime pregame, halftime and postgame show and not left cornerback on the field.
It’s a role that Sherman — somehow now 34 years old — says he is embracing in his first full year of retirement after having played five games last year with Tampa Bay.
“This is exactly what I planned on doing (after football),” Sherman said of his new media career during a Zoom session Tuesday afternoon to promote the Amazon Prime telecast. “I didn’t think it would go as well as it’s gone, and I would be on such a cool crew with such a cool opportunity, and I’m enjoying it.”
Sherman is one of four former players — the others being Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, longtime quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Rams and Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth — on a show hosted by Charissa Thompson.
And for the record, he said that yes, he considers himself essentially retired.
“I’m pretty much done,” Sherman said. “It would take a lot to bring me out of the house right now. It takes a lot to get me out of the house these days.”
But as would be expected of a player who was one of the most colorful and quotable during his Seahawks career, there was a lot more of what Sherman said during a wide-ranging session. He touched on his relationship with coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks organization, having played for both teams who will be on the field Thursday night, the current state of the Seattle defense, and, yes, Russell Wilson.
And as was the case during his career, maybe it’s best to just let Sherman speak for himself. So here we go.
On his current relationship with Carroll and why he’s been a more frequent visitor at the VMAC this year:
“It’s been solid, you know, Pete’s a good dude. He’s a good coach. It makes it easier when you’re retired and you don’t have to do a whole free agent sheet (reporting a player visit) when you go into the building. That helps. Then they got it, they don’t have to report it as a visit.”
On how the relationship with the Seahawks has improved since the bitterness of the team releasing him in March 2018, after which he signed with the 49ers:
“Things have gotten better, you know, more friendly. Me and (Seahawks general manager) John (Schneider) spoke last year before I went to Tampa. Me and Pete have spoken pretty much the entire time. I didn’t blame Pete for it. You know, it was John. I thought we’d have a better conversation than this and that’s where it’s kind of weird when he said the stuff about (feeling he made a mistake in how they released) Bobby (Wagner), because you’d have thought they learned that time. And he’s like ‘well, he didn’t have an agent.’ It’s like, well, just text him or tell him what you would have told an agent. You have a personal relationship with this player and you know you’re wrong. You know, that’s one of the situations, you kind of know you’re wrong and you’re like, ‘I don’t feel right doing this.’ Well then you’re probably not doing right. And so that was the disappointing part, because with everything else — it’s been a well-run franchise, it’s been a well-run team. It’s been a great culture, a great organization. And so you just thought they would handle those things a lot better. Not that it would be a beautiful breakup — it really never is — but just that it would be more respectful.”
On his approach to the game Thursday having played for both teams:
“I mean I still know a lot of the guys on both sides. I know the staff on both sides, I know general managers on both sides and have a very good relationship with both. So yeah, it affects it. But you’re cheering for both teams, you know what I mean? You’re in the middle. Yeah, I get to sit there and go to both sidelines. I’m good in both locker rooms. I think I’m good with both fan bases. It’s a pretty good spot to be in but just hope that Pete and those guys can get that run game fixed. I mean the run defense and run offense fixed, because if they don’t get it fixed by Thursday, it’ll be a long day.”
On his relationship with Russell Wilson:
Sherman first said “there’s no hostility at all” when asked that some have inferred that there is based on some other comments he has made recently.
But then Sherman elaborated: “You know, the truth never expires. I think the perspective that everybody had, wasn’t the perspective of transparency and truth. I think they’re getting a lot more transparency and truth now. I think a lot of people sugar coated a lot of things. You know, not that you (don’t) like the human being. He’s a great human being, a great dad, great, great father. He’s a cool teammate. But I think there was blame being slandered around and people getting fired and told they weren’t doing a good job, and it wasn’t all their fault and they were getting blamed for it. And so you know, that’s hard on anybody.”
Sherman was then asked if he’s talked to Wilson recently and said they had “a brief conversation” when Amazon covered a Denver-Colts game earlier this season. “But yeah, that was that. That was the only time I’ve talked to him in the last few years.”
On if he would consider himself a Seahawk if/when he made the Pro Football Hall of Fame (although it’s worth noting, unlike in baseball, the busts in the Pro Football Hall merely list every team a player played for):
“Yeah, I didn’t do enough with the San Francisco 49ers. You know, I got an All-Pro, I got a Pro Bowl (with the 49ers) but you know, we won the Super Bowl (in Seattle), went to two NFC championships, won two NFC championships. We had the Legion of Boom. So I’d go in as a Seattle Seahawk. But there were times (recently) where it was, it was more of a question than it had been in the past.”
Finally, Sherman was asked about Seattle’s switch this year to a 3-4 defense and how different it is from what the team ran during his career:
“It’s a lot different than we’ve ever done. That’s why it’s hard, because it’s hard for Pete to be involved in those adjustments because that’s not the scheme that he’s the master of. The scheme that he was the master of was the scheme we ran for a long time. The scheme that the Dallas Cowboys are running right now (with former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn), at times the New York Jets are running (with former Seahawks assistant Robert Saleh), and at times the San Francisco 49ers are running. That’s the scheme that he’s used to — eight in the box. And that may be what they need to get back to is eight in the box, sound gapped-out football.”