San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman discussed his self-proclaimed "villain" status Saturday after the Niners' 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round of the 2020 NFL playoffs.
Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated provided comments from Sherman, who recorded an interception as the San Francisco defense held Minnesota to just 147 yards of total offense.
"They just never want to give me credit," he said. "... They always want to make an excuse for why I'm great. ... People want to hate me. They want to treat me like a villain."
Sherman, one of the league's most enthusiastic wordsmiths, has been doing a lot of talking in recent weeks as he returned to form as one of the NFL's best corners in 2019.
In early January, he took a shot at the people who criticized him when he served as his own agent in 2018 to sign with the Niners rather than hiring a representative after getting released by Seattle Seahawks.
He endured an up-and-down 2018 campaign, which came after his 2017 season was cut short by a torn Achilles. It was his first pro season without an interception and he tallied a career-low four passes defended.
Sherman has appeared back to full strength this year, though. He recorded 61 total tackles, 11 passes defended and three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown while helping lead San Francisco to a 13-3 record and the top seed in the NFC.
The 49ers' strong showing in the win over the Vikes paired with a loss by the Baltimore Ravens, the AFC's top seed, to the Tennessee Titans could make the Niners the Super Bowl favorite by the time the Divisional Round concludes Sunday night.
That's thrust Sherman, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl XLVIII champion with the Seahawks, back into the spotlight.
"It's odd," he told reporters Saturday. "It's like people got frustrated that I was so confident early on in my career. I was so confident … that people wanted me to fail. When I didn't fail, it's like, 'How do we tear him down in other ways? How do we rip his game apart?' Because I'm too consistent on a year-in, year-out basis."
Sherman and the Niners will host the winner of Sunday's game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday.