San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was named to his fifth Pro Bowl on Tuesday, his first since he ruptured his Achilles during the 2017 season. But the nine-year NFL veteran still doesn’t feel like he gets the respect he deserves.
"I feel like I've gotten respect in spurts," Sherman told Bleacher Report. "Now, they're like, 'Oh, he's a veteran.' No. I'm still the best to play in this game."
Sherman feels like the respect he gets is a double-edged sword. If he gets it, it’s for being a veteran player and not one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Sherman knows he’s still at the top of his game, and while being named to the Pro Bowl helps prove that, the numbers are there to back him up. Here’s a stat from the Niners’ Week 14 game against the New Orleans Saints.
On a day where yards through the air were flying left and right, Richard Sherman continued to lock his side of the field down. He allowed only 33 yards on four receptions.— PFF SF 49ers (@PFF_49ers) December 9, 2019
His overall coverage grade for the season is currently 88.7, the fourth-highest of his career. #49ers pic.twitter.com/f4sNL4xvh2
Sherman bet on himself with his contract with the Niners, and it looks like he’s winning out. But he’s also humble enough to give credit where it’s due. He received a $1 million bonus when he was named to the Pro Bowl — the highest bonus in the league — which triggered a clause in his contract that guarantees his 2020 base salary on April 1. That wasn’t suggested by Sherman, who acted as his own agent when he signed with the Niners, but by his wife, Ashley Moss. Sherman was eager to give her credit on Tuesday.
Sherman may not think he gets enough respect from fellow players and the media, but that’s partially what drives him to compete. He told Bleacher Report that he uses it as motivation,
"Because the moment I stop having motivation and stop having fun in this game is when I'll hang 'em up,” he said. “I'll be done. When you stop seeing that fire in my eyes, and it's gone out, that's my retirement press conference."
Thankfully for the Niners (and the entire NFL), it doesn’t look like Sherman’s fire will go out anytime soon.
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