sport news Meet Richard Sherman, the best cornerback of the decade looking to win his ...

Richard Sherman is a mathematical wizard who went from Compton to Stanford. A loquacious, elegant speaker whose sharp mind moves effortlessly from player safety, to film breakdown and fantastic

He is the most annoying opponent, but he’s the ultimate team-mate. And he drives a Tesla with ludicrous mode. 

Sherman loves to talk. About himself, certainly, but he’s just as happy praising others. And while he is not short in coming forward (’I enjoy seeing people wrong and myself be right,’ he recently said), he is a compelling character. 

The 49ers' Richard Sherman is an outspoken player, but he walks the walk after talking the talk

The 49ers' Richard Sherman is an outspoken player, but he walks the walk after talking the talk

The son of Kevin, a garbage truck driver and Beverly, who worked with inner city disabled children, Sherman and his older brother and younger sister had a strict upbringing to keep them out of mischief on the perilous streets. 

Sherman was a freak and a geek. A gifted athlete and a bookworm, a straight A student who became the first pupil from Dominguez High to earn a place at the prestigious Stanford University. 

While there, he made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback, a decision prompted by head coach Jim Harbaugh's run-first offense, a beef which lasts to this day. He was taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, 154th overall. That rankled too. So he set about proving people wrong. 

He will enter his third Super Bowl on Sunday, his first with the 49ers, in pursuit of a second ring

He will enter his third Super Bowl on Sunday, his first with the 49ers, in pursuit of a second ring

Sherman spent seven years in Seattle. A founding member of the Legion of Boom, the brash, hard-hitting defense that took the Seahawks to within a Malcolm Butler interception of back-to-back Super Bowls. 

He was a seldom targeted, shutdown corner. A loudmouth who could talk the talk and walk the walk. He feared no-one and used his voice to get an edge on his adversaries. No-one was safe, from Patriots quarterback 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, both the NFC Championship game in January 2014.

Sherman was a fixture. He didn’t miss a game for six years until he ruptured his right achilles in November 2016. Sherman had long been an outspoken critic of Thursday Night Football, and here he was, limping off the same field that hosted Seattle’s Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.

Of all the injuries, this is one of the toughest to recover from. Sherman used the rehab as a positive. He spoke to his friend Kobe Bryant, who came back from the same injury aged 34, and spent much of his rehab with his young children. And he was, after all, a 30-year-old cornerback whose best days might be behind him. Seattle certainly thought so, releasing him in March 2018. 

He suffered a tough injury in 2016, but has come back to continue being a top cornerback

He suffered a tough injury in 2016, but has come back to continue being a top cornerback

Given the choice of the Detroit Lions or San Francisco, he shunned an agent and chose an incentive-laden deal with the latter in 2018. 

‘Hey, I can get this $20 million guaranteed and be in Detroit and lose football games,” he told The Athletic. ‘Or I can go to a place where I’m very comfortable with the scheme, coach and culture and I’m very comfortable with the things they do and I really believe we can win.’ 

Sherman quickly went from disliked NFC West adversary to ‘Uncle Sherm’ to his younger team-mates. A calming influence, he has been there and done it, a veteran who would nurture and encourage, often in public. 

‘I’ve always been that kind of teammate that talked his guys up,’ Sherman said earlier in the year. 

‘I think that’s important. Everybody doesn’t get the platform to speak. So if you’ve got the platform, you should use it to give the guys the attention they deserve.’ 

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He would extend a warm handshake to new acquisitions. Sherman welcomed Australian punter Mitch Wishnowsky to the West Coast by taking him

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