November 21, 2013
Richard Sherman; Poised to be Great, Look what Seattle found from Compton
By Kenneth D. Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
The first thought of Compton is not a proving ground for Stanford intellectuals and National Football League stars who challenge the game’s biggest names and then back it up with their play off the field.
However, that’s because you’ve never met Compton’s Richard Sherman, a dreadlock wearing Stanford alum who prepped at Dominguez High in the Hub City and was passed over until the 5th round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll saw what Sherman did to his former team USC in college and figured that this was his best chance to finally beat Jim Harbaugh and he was right.
The 6’3, 195 pound Sherman played receiver for the Dons coach Keith Donnerson and averaged 30 yards a catch in high school.
During his senior year when he led the Dons to a victory over powerful Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, he caught just 28 passes for an amazing 14 touchdowns. That’s a TD on ever other catch, you’d think on that alone he would have been a hot commodity.
That he was, but the Seattle Seahawks star defensive back had aspirations far beyond the football field so he left Compton for prestigious Stanford where again he had to prove himself on the football field.
Sherman returned to the Southland last summer to share his story with youths attending a Brotherhood Crusade event on Crenshaw Blvd. to deliver a powerful message that hit home, and reminded him of just how far he has come.
“We all have options in life and I have told many of my friends that they could have done what I did, but instead they took another path and found themselves in jail or dead,” Sherman told the youths.
He reminded them that one bad decision does not have to define their future.
“Everybody makes bad decisions, I have a made a few bad decisions, but you have to move on and make better decisions and learn from those decisions,” he implored.
Usually when an athlete returns to his roots when his playing career is over, the lights have dimmed and the money is gone.
What makes Richard Sherman unique is that he spoke to a group of youngsters wearing his Seahawks number 25 game jersey and said very little if anything about his career.
That is because at the age of 25-years old he is eligible for the Masters program at Stanford and while he grew up in Compton it is not the city’s negative reputation that defines him.
Much like Venus and Serena Williams who hailed from the Hub City, he had the strong foundation of two guiding parents who inspired him to reach for the sky and not limit himself to just athletics.
He credits his family as his most import source of inspiration.
“It’s always been my family. You spend all of these years and sometimes having it kind of tough out here. I always thought I had a good life, but once you realize how hard your parents are working to keep a roof over your head to make everything seem great, you kind of want to pay them back and that’s been my motivation,” Sherman told LAWT.
That motivation has inspired him to become one of the best shut down corner backs in the NFL in just three seasons. He is also one of the primary reasons the Seahawks are favorites to win the Super Bowl and finished this week with an NFC leading 11-1 record.
Sherman is currentlysixth on the team in tackles with 31, but he also has four interceptions for 124 yards including a 58-yard touchdown.
During his visit he spoke candidly of being rewarded for his play on the field and miffs at players such as Derrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Bucs who makes a staggering 13 million, while Sherman is collecting peanuts at $555,000.
Statistically he is better than five of the highest paid defensive backs in the NFL including the Broncos Champ Bailey ($9 million), Cortland Finnegan of the Rams ($9 million), Houston’s Johnathan Joseph ($7.5 million) and the San Francisco 49ers Carlos Rogers ($5.5 million).
He’s already scheduled to be vastly underpaid in 2014 when his paltry pay will increase to $645, 000.
In just three seasons in the league he has 16 interceptions and that’s rather high considering teams do not like to throw in his direction.
“I'm intelligent enough and capable enough to understand that you are an ignorant, pompous[ER1] , egotistical cretin. I am going to crush you on here because I am tired of hearing about it.” He told Bayless he was “better at life” than the First Take analyst.
Sherman was also involved in a Twitter feud with fellow cornerback Revis, telling him that he was the best corner in the NFL.
He also spurned former Stanford Coach Harbaugh during the Seahawks victory over their rivals this season because he says that his former Stanford coach didn’t respect him.
Sherman repeatedly taunted Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady during an October 2012 game. After the game, Sherman posted to his Twitter account a photo of himself yelling at Brady with “U mad bro?” Now, the “U mad bro” is a top selling T-shirt on Sherman’s website richardsherman25.com.
It is that edge that makes this Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. member poised to be great, and an example that you can come from Compton and keep your swag all at the same time?