February, the time of year when football fans and pundits alike fight over what little scraps of "news" they can find while the sports world shifts its focus away from the gridiron.
For some, it's an opportunity to mock the draft, while others opt to see what free agents are available. Yet for most of us, players especially, it's a chance to rest following a long and grueling season. This winter though, Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman seems to be enjoying his new found fame by letting his mouth run away with him.
To 'Hawks fans, it's nothing new to hear the Legion of Boom's self-proclaimed "Optimus Prime" share his thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics; but over the course of the past week, Sherman has seemingly touched upon a number of sensitive issues while featured on the NFL's "ATL Debate Club Podcast."
As the seattlepi.com's Nick Eaton outlined this weekend, Sherman believes the NFL Draft is a sham:
“Maybe I didn’t have the right people pushing me (in college). Maybe I didn’t meet the right people,” Sherman added on “ATL.” If I got (ESPN draft analyst Mel) Kiper saying I’m the No. 1 corner, then I’m the No. 1 corner.
“But it doesn’t really matter if I play like the No. 1 corner, if I’m picking things off. If (Kiper) says I’m the No. 1 corner, I’m the No. 1 corner. If I would’ve got my name in those circles, how would things have changed? … That’s what I think. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
He also thinks that Seattle will once again need to deal with a lack of respect from the national media:
“I think we’re gonna end up being one of those teams that, once again, flies under the radar because we’re in Seattle. Obviously we’ll be kind of relevant because we have Russell (Wilson), we have a pretty good defense.
“And they’ll find ways to overlook it, though, and we’ll go right back under the radar. We’ll persevere though.”
Then, if all of that wasn't enough, Sherman offered his thoughts via Twitter on the possible addition of Charles Woodson to the Legion of Boom.
Understand me when I say that I like Richard Sherman the player and appreciate his candid take on the game, but if he played for any other team in the league you would probably be asking yourself "Who is this guy and why won't he shut up already?"
B/R's own Gary Davenport though writes that Sherman's sideshow is fun and you could even argue that a good portion of what comes from Sherman's mouth is close to what the rest of us as 'Hawks fans are thinking, but I still feel a sense of concern moving forward.
With Sherman you never really do know what he's going to say next and that could land him in hot water if he's not careful in how he chooses his words or is misinterpreted by critics.
For now, I hope that Sherman enjoys his taste of the limelight, but let's hope it doesn't effect his game. Come next season, Sherman will no longer be able to sneak up on anyone as the more he talks, the bigger the target on his back grows.
For it's one thing to earn All-Pro status, but it's quite another thing to sustain that level of excellence over the course of a career.
Unfortunately, Sherman may never shake the whispers from opponents and fans even after his victorious PED appeal as public perception in his case likely cost him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
If anything, it will probably only motivate him...as an anti-hero of sorts while giving the Seahawks a little more attitude off the field.
To Sherman's credit, his endless supply of self-confidence has helped him meet each and every challenge along the way as the slights of both the past and present have seemingly fueled him to become an elite player after only two seasons in the NFL.
Let's hope he can continue to do so without letting the trappings of fame get in his way; otherwise Sherman risks becoming a one-hit wonder best remembered for letting his bark becoming too big for his bite.