Richard Sherman had no reason for adrenaline-filled yelling this time around. No reason to feel disrespected. No reason to feel anything but unadulterated joy following his Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 triumph over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Sherman, who was in a walking boot after suffering an ankle injury in the second half, spoke to CNN's Rachel Nichols after the game and seemed nothing short of relieved for himself and his teammates.
"All the hard work, all the sore days, the extra film, the extra lifting has paid off," Sherman said. "We [have] a real good team, and we really submitted our legacy today."
It's been a long two weeks for Sherman, whose post-game interview with Fox's Erin Andrews after the NFC Championship Game proved the prevailing storyline of Super Bowl week. Obviously worked up in the heat of the moment, Sherman called 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree "mediocre" among other things and yelled while staring directly into the camera.
Reaction about that interview was widespread, ranging from tongue-in-cheek Internet memes to vitriolic and racist comments. In the aftermath of the reaction, Sherman sat down with Nichols to appear on CNN's Unguarded and give a more in-depth look at who he is as a person—at least the person who he is when he isn't on the football field.
It's been something that Sherman emphasized during Super Bowl week. He was open, honest and articulate with the media that took the trip to the metropolitan New York area, softening for some the rough edges the saw on television. Asked by Nichols what he's learned over these past two weeks, Sherman said he was "humbled" by his new-found notoriety.
"It's been a lot of fun, it's been really humbling," Sherman said. "You learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about the media and the way people perceive things. It's really a chance to grow, and I've had a chance to grow."
Obviously, Sherman's perspective was helped out a lot on the football field, which saw him and the Seahawks secondary live up to their billing for 60 minutes. The Broncos' NFL-record scoring offense managed just eight points, as Peyton Manning turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six to eventual game MVP Malcolm Smith.
Sherman had just three tackles and one pass defensed before leaving with the injury, but the counting stats rarely tell his whole story. Manning was noticeably a check-down machine the entire contest, needing 49 pass attempts to accumulate his 280 yards. The Broncos seemed to only go deep to keep Seattle's physical secondary honest and did not complete a pass longer than 23 yards.
As perhaps a sign he's learned something over a fortnight of criticism, though, Sherman reached out to Manning on his Twitter account to congratulate, not criticize:
Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met! I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
Sherman told Nichols that he hopes Disney World is next for him, but after that is probably rehabilitation. The 25-year-old corner told Westwood One (via Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio) that he suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's game, tweaking it early before going out for good in the fourth quarter. While the high-ankle sprain is typically a dreaded diagnosis during the regular season, Sherman will have more than sufficient time to heal before organized team activities begin.
But first, Disney World. After the whirlwind couple weeks he's had, arguably no one deserves a trip to the happiest place on earth more than Richard Sherman.
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