You know him as the All-Pro cornerback for the Seahawks who finished second in the NFL last season with eight interceptions and led the league with 24 passes defensed. You likely also know that Sherman was a wide receiver before he was a cornerback, and a good enough pass-catcher to land a scholarship to Stanford University out of Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.
But did you know that Sherman won the California state championship in the triple jump as a senior? And did it with a mark of 50 feet, 8 inches?
It’s true, even though Sherman never had any intention of competing in the sport at Dominguez High.
“I used to play baseball, basketball and football. I never ran track,” Sherman said through one of those lights-up-the-room-as-well-as-his-face smiles. “I didn’t start track until I got into high school.”
And then, as was the case with many things he did while growing up, only because he was chasing his older brother – Branton.
“My brother was a senior when I was a freshman and he did track,” Sherman said. “So that’s where it all started.”
Sherman wasn’t finished, however, until he was a state champion. And the triple jump title is just the hop, skip and jump in his track and field story. Sherman also made it to the finals at the state meet in the 110-meter hurdles, placing third in a time of 13.99 seconds; long jump, finishing sixth at 23-8; and 400-meter relay, where Dominguez was the favorite but got disqualified because another runner stepped out of his lane.
“The long jump and triple jump, those were the events my brother was doing,” Sherman said. “But my coach, he just threw me in the hurdles one day. He’s got an eye for it. He’s been coaching for a long time. Every year, we’d come with a championship-caliber team out of nobodies – guys nobody had heard of before. Somehow he puts it together and we put a team out there.”
A championship-caliber team comprised of “nobodies” like the football-, basketball-, baseball-playing Sherman who was just chasing his brother.
“It ended up working out for me,” Sherman said. “I ended up winning state.”
And no one has been less startled by his kid brother’s continuing success than Branton Sherman.
“Honestly, Richard hasn’t surprised me because he’s had this vision since he was a child,” Branton Sherman said in May, after Richard Sherman had addressed an assembly in the gymnasium at Dominguez High. “He would always say he was going to do miraculous things. I would be like, ‘Um, let’s see it.’ He would do at least half of it, and half of it would still be amazing. So it doesn’t surprise me.”