Richard Sherman triumphs over slim and none again

Posted Dec 27, 2012

A week of uncertainty after his appeal of a four-game suspension ended Thursday for Richard Sherman when the NFL upheld the appeal the Seahawks’ second-year cornerback had made.

On more than one occasion during the process that was his appeal of a four-game suspension by the NFL, it was suggested to Richard Sherman that his chances of winning were slim and none.

But Sherman, the Seahawks’ second-year cornerback, hasn’t just been there before. Slim and none have been his constant companions.

“There were always people who said the chances were slim and none,” Sherman said on Wednesday, when he was informed by his attorney that he had indeed won his appeal. “I told them, ‘My chances have always been slim and none. And I’ve always found a way to win those.’

“You don’t make it this far without getting through some kind of adversity. This is just another phase. And I have great teammates and great coaches who supported me through it. The great fans we have supported and had faith through the whole process, and I was appreciative of that.”

What it all means is that Sherman will be available for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field, as well as for any and all playoff games – when the team also will have cornerback Brandon Browner back from his four-game suspension for violating the league policy on performance enhancing substances.

But back to Sherman’s life of slim-and-none challenges. He is the kid from Compton, Calif., who spurned nearby USC to attend Stanford because, well, he wanted to prove that a kid from Compton could not only go to but graduate from the prestigious university. He was the one who pushed for his position change from wide receiver to cornerback while with the Cardinal. He was a fifth-round draft choice last year who only got an opportunity to play because of injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond. But the end of his rookie season, it was Sherman who playing even better than the Pro Bowl trio of safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and Browner. It is Sherman who many in the league consider the best cover corner in the league this season.

“There was obviously a good amount of stress, because you just don’t know,” Sherman said of the waiting game he’s been playing since making his appeal last Friday. “You know how strong your case is. You know how strong everything is. But it was just great to finally get it over with.

“Just have the burden off your shoulders and to be able to move on. And try to make this playoff run with my guys.” 

The reaction to Sherman’s situation drew cheers from his teammates when he announced it in the locker room.

“It made my day,” Thomas said. “I came in a little shaken up just because you don’t know. That’s my brother back there and it definitely feels good for him to take this journey and be on this team with us.

“Sherm is a big part of this defense. He’s been making a lot of plays for us. He locks down his side of the field. Especially since B.B. (Browner) left, we’ve been putting him on the best receivers week in and week out and he’s been locking it down. He definitely makes my job easier and I’m glad he’s going to be a part of this journey that we’re about to take.”

Thomas paused for a moment, as Sherman slid into the cubicle next to his in the locker room, before adding, “You can’t replace a guy like that. It just definitely feels good for the NFL, whoever made the decision, to make the right one.”

Offered quarterback Russell Wilson when asked about Sherman still being around, “It helps a lot. Obviously Richard Sherman is a tremendous football player. He’s done a fabulous job all season. He’s unbelievable. He’s really helped me out, in terms of playing the quarterback position and in terms of facing him every single day.

“We’re really looking forward to having him back. Everybody was cheering that Richard was back and he’s able to play.”

After the cheers came a round of high-fives.

“High-fives, as old school as it is, is still the best way to celebrate,” Sherman said.

But after the shouting and high-fiving had subsided, it was back to the task at hand for Sherman and his teammates.

“It’s a must-win,” Sherman said of Sunday’s rematch with the Rams, a team that beat the Seahawks 19-13 during Week 4 in St. Louis. “It’s playoff atmosphere every game in the fourth quarter. It’s all about the finish. That’s what coach (Pete) Carroll preaches. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to finish off the fourth quarter with another win and have some momentum going into the playoffs.”

So far, the Seahawks and Sherman have been whole during the final quarter of their third season under Carroll. Following their overtime victory against the Bears in Chicago in Week 13, the Seahawks have blown out the Arizona Cardinals 58-0, with Sherman returning one of his two interceptions for a touchdown; traveled to Toronto and dispatched the Buffalo Bills 50-17, with Sherman finishing second on the team with six tackles; and dismantled the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers last week 42-13, with Sherman returning a blocked field goal 90 yards for a score and also making an end-zone interception.

Now come the Rams, the final quarter of that fourth quarter.

“It is a must-win for our team, and we’re treating it as such,” Sherman said. “Everybody is locked in and focused.”

Especially the slim-and-none kid from Compton.