They’re not team issued, nor league approved, but most of the players on a Seahawks defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL last season took the field with a little something extra: The chips on their shoulders.
Several of the players talked about the extra motivation they have during the season, when the defense also allowed the fewest points in the league. But the topic became topical again this week when All-Pro cornerback
Sherman definitely plays with a competitive chip on his shoulder, and his mother said it began at a very early age.
“Richard has always been very determined and a go-getter. He’s always been motivated,” Beverly Sherman said after her son’s appearance at his alma mater, Dominguez High School in Compton. “He couldn’t initially play when his (older) brother started playing, but that kind of started this chip on his shoulder. He got a little irritated that they wouldn’t let him play.”
That’s when Richard was only 6. But growing into a 6-foot-3, 195-pound cornerback who led the NFL in passes defensed (24) and tied for second in the league in interceptions (eight) last season has done little to diminish the size of that motivating chip.
Asked about his mother’s assessment, Sherman not only agreed, he said the performance-enhancing attitude also applies to several of his teammates.
“I’ve done a lot of interviews this year and they’ve asked me, ‘What is so special about this team?’ ” Sherman said. “They’d ask, ‘What one word would I use?’ And I’d say, ‘Slighted.’
“Everybody’s like, ‘Ah, Pete (Carroll, the coach) has all these guys, this ragtag bunch of guys.’ But if you look at one thing they all have in common most of them have been slighted.”
“Earl Thomas? He’s too short,” Sherman said of the stereotype the 5-10 Thomas has faced his entire career.
“It goes on and on and on and on about players on our roster,” said Sherman, who also included “too short” quarterback
“But that’s the one thing they all have in common: They’ve been slighted. And I think that makes the team play with a chip on its shoulder. And I can’t imagine how big that is.”