Richard Sherman talks to reporters Thursday at the Super Bowl. (Elsa / Getty Images)
Jersey City, N.J. – Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman has been effusive and unwavering in his praise of Peyton Manning this week.
He has, in every media session, called him “one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.”
Even with that, he’s managed to poke the bear.
Comments Sherman made four weeks ago have come back to stir the pot. Sherman writes a column for TheMMQB.com, a spinoff website from Sports Illustrated headed by Peter King. In it, Sherman listed Manning as the smartest quarterback in the NFL, but added this addendum:
"His arm, however, is another story. His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks."
Manning was asked about the comment on Thursday.
“I believe it to be true,” Manning said, laughing. “They say he is a smart player, and I think that’s a real reach with what he is saying there. I do throw ‘ducks.’ I’ve thrown a lot of yards and touchdowns ‘ducks.’ I am actually quite proud of it.”
Manning has mustered the arm strength to throw for 5,477 yards and a record 55 touchdowns this season.
"I still feel the same way I felt," Sherman said during Wednesday’s media session. "He's a great quarterback, he does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time.
“He throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it -- he delivers it on time and accurately."
Digging for trash
Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton will leave no stone unturned as he prepares for his matchup with Seattle center Max Unger.
Aside from the usual film study to hone in on Unger’s strengths, weaknesses and tendencies, Knighton plans to dig up some personal tidbits, as well. He will be looking for trash-talk fodder.
“Today I’ll start Googling him and doing all types of stuff to guide out his personal life,” Knighton said. “I want to know everything about him, from his favorite food to his favorite color, where he grew up at, how many siblings he has. I want to know everything about him, and I’ll probably talk a little smack Sunday.
“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s the middle of their offense, and I take pride in being the middle of our defense. So it’s going to come down to that matchup against a team that likes to run the ball. I’m pretty sure he’s studying me right now, and I’ll be studying him as soon as I leave here. May the best man win.”
Spilling the beans
As you’d expect, both teams have guarded their game plans like they were state secrets.
But Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin let it slide Wednesday that he would not be returning kicks as he had been in the previous playoff games.
“I’m probably not going to be returning kicks this week because we have Percy Harvin back,” he said. “My role in the offense is going to be what it’s going to be. We never know who’s going to get the targets throughout the week; it just happens that way in the game sometimes.”
All in the family
Britton Colquitt tried to play receiver and defensive back when he was younger, but he wasn’t fooling anybody. He was born to be a punter. His father Craig punted in two Super Bowls for the Steelers. His uncle Jimmy punted for Seattle. His brother Dustin punts for Kansas City.
“It’s really crazy,” said Britton, the Broncos punter. “When you grow up around it, that’s what you know. All I see is Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl stuff on the wall. It was kind of normal to me. In my mind, and even in Dustin’s mind, it was always attainable and was kind of the norm.
“It’s like any other family business and that’s ours. I am thankful for it.”
There’s more Colquitts coming, too.
“Dustin has five kids now, four boys and a girl,” Britton said. “At least one them I am sure will be able to do it. They can all kick really well, and play soccer and do all that. I think one or two of them are left-footed like him.
“We are not going to pressure them. If they end up working on Wall Street, it’s not going to matter. I want them to be happy. But out of all those boys I think somebody can be a punter.”
Lions sign Keyton
The Lions signed former Central Michigan offensive lineman Darren Keyton to a futures contract. As an undrafted rookie, Keyton was among the team’s final cuts after training camp last season.