Tom Brady used to think the Seattle Seahawks were “nobodies.” The New England megastar, GQ quarterback isn’t the “clean-cut” guy on the field that his image says he is off it.
The Seahawks are for sure going have their All-Pro cornerback playing against Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 — whether he has two good arms or one.
Marshawn Lynch could use a crash course in press relations from a particularly loquacious and accommodating teammate before Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day in Phoenix.
All that and more came from Sherman on Wednesday during his weekly press conference.
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It was Sherman, full throttle. All over the place. And, yet again, unlike anyone else.
The most pressing issue first: the elbow he got banged by Kam Chancellor on a hit out of bounds of Green Bay’s James Starks on the first play of the fourth quarter in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. Sherman stayed in the title game but played the final period with just one arm. The NFL’s leading interceptor since 2011 with 26 in the regular season and playoffs held his left arm into his chest against the Packers, even during plays.
Asked how his elbow was three days later, Sherman shrugged (yes, both his shoulders elevated equally) and said: “It’s better than it was during the game. Still a little sore. But, you know, not too bad.”
It was good enough Wednesday to be a full participant in a relatively light, indoor practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
As for his proclamation after Sunday’s win he was “100 percent” going to play in the Super Bowl: “That’s my story,” Sherman said. “And I’m sticking to it.”
Sherman may practice with a brace over his left elbow as the Seahawks continue installing the Super Bowl game plan on Thursday and Friday.
“But,” he said of Seahawks’ medical staffers, “they think it will be better by game day. There shouldn’t be any limitations, honestly.”
Put it this way: The Seahawks wouldn’t bring Sherman out for his normal press conference in front of national and even international (Spanish-language TV and Canada’s Rogers SportsNet were present) television cameras to put on the quality show he did Wednesday if he was in danger of not playing.
“You know, my left stiff arm might not be the best right now,” he said. “But other than that, I will be pretty decent.”
The rest of his Wednesday show was more than decent. It was as outspoken and genuine as he’s been all season.
Don’t expect the same next week when the world’s media descends on him and his teammates in Arizona.
“You guys are my people,” he said of the local press.
This season Sherman has toned down some of his nationally renowned rhetoric — even President Barack Obama joked last spring he should take pointers from the Seahawk on how to deal with the media. Sherman said Wednesday that softer tone has been to let some of the spotlight shine elsewhere within the league’s top-ranked defense.
But he wasn’t soft on Brady.
What did Brady say to him and the Seahawks during these teams’ last meeting on Oct. 14, 2012, causing Sherman to get in Brady’s face following Seattle’s win and then tweet a picture of that encounter along with the words “U mad bro?” after that game?
“Pretty much that we are nobodies, and that we should come up to him after they got the win,” Sherman said.
“So we should take that pretty well,” Sherman added, sarcastically. “Oh, wow, can I get your autograph, too?”
New England led that game 23-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Then-rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes in the final 7 minutes, 9 seconds, including to Sidney Rice with 1:18 left, to stun the defending AFC champion Patriots, 24-23.
Sherman and Earl Thomas had interceptions of Brady that rainy day in Seattle.
And, no, Sherman didn’t seek the QB’s autograph afterward.
Before the Seahawks rallied, Brady was chirping. So says Sherman.
“People somehow get a skewed view of Tom Brady, that he’s just clean cut. Always does everything right. Never says a bad word to anyone. And we know him to be otherwise,” he said. “So, in that moment of him being himself, he said some things. And we returned the favor.
“Unfortunately, apparently he didn’t remember what he said, et cetera, et cetera,” Sherman said, a reference to Brady telling New England reporters this week he doesn’t recall details of their on-field conversation. “I’m sure when he’s yelling at the refs, he’s saying, ‘Oh, good job. You are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up.’ ”
Asked whether he thought these comments might spark Brady to target him with throws in the Super Bowl, Sherman said: “I could care less. I hope so. Gives me more opportunities to get the ball. He’s had me in his sights before. It’s fine.”
Aaron Rodgers did not throw at him once in 36 drop backs in Week 1 this season. But last weekend Rodgers tested Sherman on Green Bay’s first drive. Sherman intercepted the pass in the end zone.
“Everybody that told him to throw at me kind of swallowed what they said after that,” Sherman said. “They were like, ‘Oh, maybe that’s why you don’t throw at him, because he intercepts the football. He’s got 26, 27 of them the last four years. So you should probably stop throwing at him.’ That’s probably what they were thinking.”
Brady isn’t the only Patriot with whom Sherman has had a previous Twitter beef. New England cover man Darrelle Revis will play in this Super Bowl. Revis was considered to be the league’s best cornerback when Sherman entered the league in 2011.
Would Sherman still say he is the best cornerback in the NFL?
“I don’t know anyone who would say otherwise,” he said.
As for Lynch, Sherman joked he would be an adviser to the running back who would rather swallow nails than talk to the media — especially the wildly motivated mass Lynch is scheduled to face in three mandatory sessions during Super Bowl week.
“You know, we are going to have a course later on this week. Going into Media Day, we are going to have a good discussion on do’s and don’ts. Me and Marshawn,” Sherman said.
Then he laughed.
Sherman had an opinion on the controversy of the NFL reportedly finding the Patriots underinflated 11 of 12 game balls they used in the win over Indianapolis in the AFC title game. Deflated balls are supposed to be easier to throw and catch, especially in bad weather, and Sunday’s game was played in a downpour.
“I’ll have to go to my collection and check. I have to see if there any pounds missing,” Sherman said of all his career interception balls he keeps in cases at his home in the Seattle suburb of Maple Valley. “But no, I’ve never heard of that.
“And I’m not sure anything will come from it, honestly, whether it’s true or it’s not true. It didn’t have much effect on the game. And if it did — if it’s against the rules, then it’s against the rules. But you’ll see that it’s not going to have any effect on this game.
“Nobody is going to get suspended, nothing is going to happen. They’re going to play this game. Whatever they did — the risk-reward was greater. They were trying to suspend Marshawn for gold shoes. That really affects the game if you suspend Marshawn for gold shoes. But then you got balls being deflated, and that’s an issue.”
All righty then.
What insight did he glean from February’s experience preparing for the Super Bowl that will help him and the Seahawks succeed in becoming the first team to repeat as NFL champions since Brady’s 2003-04 Patriots?
“I learned,” Sherman said, “not to pack too much.”