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Focus on: Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman’s coverage skills are as good as any cornerback in the NFL, as evidenced by the fact that he led the league in passes defensed and tied for second in interceptions last season.
He also knows what to do once he gets his hands on the ball, as he returned one of his eight interceptions and also a blocked field goal for touchdowns in a 2012 season when Sherman was voted All-Pro.
And he can tackle, too, with his 62 tackles ranking fourth on a defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL and finished a franchise-best No. 4 in average yards allowed last season.
But the focus of this story is something else Sherman does on the football field – dance, at the drop of a tune and whenever the fever infects him.
“Richard Sherman is just one of the guys who tries to dance, but Sherm is the ultimate dancer on the team,” defensive tackle Clinton McDonald said Tuesday after the first full-pads practice of the team’s training camp.
The undisrupted champion, you might say, after Sherman shutdown former defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove in an impromptu locker room dance-off during the 2011 season
“I would say Sherm is the acknowledged dance champion,” McDonald said. “I haven’t seen anybody challenge him yet this year. So right now, he’s the reigning champion.
And when the reigning champ gets it going, the dance moves just pour out of every pore. It has happened in each of the first five training camp practices, with the most memorable routine coming Sunday – to the delight of the those along the fence that separates the fan-filled berm from the practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“All right Sherm,” one fan yelled.
“We love you Richard,” offered another.
Sherman responded with a quick wave of his right arm, which only ignited another round of cheers.
What’s with the dance moves? “I’m just having a good time out here,” Sherman said. “It’s all about having fun. The day you stop having fun is the day your career is coming to a close.”
Not Sherman, whose just getting started. And busting a move – or six – is nothing new for him.
“It started in Pop Warner,” he said. “But it kind of stopped in college because we didn’t play music during practice at Stanford.”
Tunes blaring from speakers have been part of Seahawks’ practice routine since Pete Carroll arrived as the coach in 2010. But Sherman didn’t join the dance party until 2011, when he was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft and found himself in the starting lineup for the final 10 games because of injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond.
“Anytime you hear music, I don’t care where I’m out, I’ll get out there jumping,” Sherman said. “Pete always plays music out here and I think that’s one of the things that makes practice a little more fun, a little more enjoyable for us.”
Especially when Sherman is dancing to that music.
“It’s just in the moment,” he explained. “You feel it in your feet. You feel it in your shoulders. The hips start going.”
Just how do you describe Sherman’s style?
“Oh man, I don’t know what you would call that,” McDonald said.
When it was suggested that Sherman resembles one of those air-driven windsocks that gyrate outside businesses, McDonald erupted in laughter.
“That’s pretty good,” he said. “But I would just call it the Sherm.”