Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will be the focus of much attention this week leading up to the Super Bowl. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman certainly put his all into his entrance on America's biggest sporting stage last week when, after he made the play that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, he made certain everyone knew about it. Especially 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
It became a lightning rod for political commentary, discussions about the line between sportsmanship and entertainment, and even waded into racial tensions.
And how has Sherman handled the searing heat of the spotlight that comes not just to those who find themselves a matter for discussion, but for debate?
"I think you see Richard grow into this opportunity of a lifetime, really," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
The $5 million meltdown?
Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, a former Lion, chuckled at the question, saying, "Everybody's asking me that."
Some people have speculated what Sherman did last Sunday night was calculated. For every fan he turned off with his antics, he likely gained a few who were enthralled by his bravado. And in the world of 21st century marketing, making a splash is important. He added 150,000 Twitter followers in the hours after last week's game, and CNNMoney speculated that he could make upward of $5 million in endorsements following his rant. That's 10 times his base salary ($555,000) for the 2013 season, and more than 6,000 times the $7,875 the NFL fined him for unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting.
"We have some new players who have come to the table who are starting the conversation," his agent, Jamie Fritz, told CNN this week about possible business partners for Sherman. "People love this. The brand managers love this."
All of which begs another question. If Sherman is so smart, and he always has a plan, and his teammates and coaches say he is misrepresented in the postgame tirade, was it a calculated move to cast himself not only at center stage but perhaps even as the villain?
NFL Films has a video clip of him spitting brimstone for one local television interview immediately after the game, pausing to hug Fox reporter Erin Andrews with a smile and a look of joy over the win, then turning back into the raving lunatic once the red lights of the national camera came on.
Every story needs a Darth Vader, a Wicked Witch, a Lex Luthor. It needs a character to balance the good of the hero, represent the power that ruthlessness can wield when virtue reaches its limit. The great dramas in American culture — sports included — all need bad guys. Hey, the Iron Sheik made a pretty good living out of being hated.
Was that Sherman's ultimate goal?
"Possibly," Avril said with a smirk at Sherman's motives. "If he is trying to do something, much respect to him."
Pats exec Caserio has second interview for Miami GM job
New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio, a late entrant in the Miami Dolphins’ search for a general manager, is among the finalists for the job.
Caserio was among three candidates to meet with the Dolphins for a second interview Saturday. The team also interviewed Tampa Bay Buccaneers director of player personnel Dennis Hickey and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson.
Brian Gaine, the Dolphins’ assistant general manager, had a second interview Friday. A decision is expected soon on a replacement for Jeff Ireland, who left after six seasons on Jan. 7 when he and owner Stephen Ross agreed to part ways.
Caserio, the Patriots’ director of player personnel, met with Miami for the first time Friday.
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has met with investigators hired by the team to independently assess allegations that an assistant coach made anti-gay comments.
Kluwe wrote in a Jan. 2 article on deadspin.com that coach Mike Priefer made comments because of Kluwe’s outspoken support of gay marriage rights.
Kluwe’s lawyer, Clayton Halunen, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that during a five-hour meeting Friday, Kluwe identified kicker Blair Walsh and long snapper Cullen Loeffler as witnesses. Halunen also says there are corroborating text messages from Walsh.
... The Chicago Bears have hired former Louisville and Miami assistant Clint Hurtt to take the place of Michael Sinclair as assistant defensive line coach. Hurtt, 35, was sanctioned last fall by the NCAA for violations committed as a Miami assistant.
... Kicker Matt Prater missed practice all week with the flu and the Denver Broncos kept him away from the rest of the team so he didn’t get everyone else sick.