Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman knows what he is talking about when he talks leadership and the NFL draft. A 5th round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, Sherman has earned Pro Bowl and All Pro honors on his way to becoming the best at his position.
He recently sat down with Pro Player Insider to talk about the draft process, leadership and what he is working on outside football. The Compton, California native wants to help inner city youth escape the violence and crime that traps so many kids.
On changing positions from wide receiver to corner
“Well just understanding the process and understanding needs and as a receiver there are 6’ 3” 200 pound receivers running a 4.5 they are a dime a dozen. 6’ 3” corners are a lot more rare to find. With the receivers getting bigger and running faster and all that I thought that my chances of making the league and making an impact and having a longer career would be on the defensive side of the ball and at corner.
On his draft and how it went for him
“I was frustrated and disappointed. You are excited you got drafted but you feel like you worked hard and you did everything you needed to do and you would hope you would have went higher. And that’s probably a little [silence] you couldn’t say how the undrafted guys felt obviously.
I’m still drafted and I’m still blessed with the opportunity but it’s still frustrating. You think you are supposed to go higher you think you performed well enough to be in the earlier rounds and to see yourself fall and then even in hindsight you see all the guys that went in front of you a lot of them aren’t in the league anymore and you’re like what’s going on. What were you guys thinking?”
On Seattle and whether it’s a conducive environment to rise up
“I think it’s just the kind of guys they bring in. They bring in a lot of guys with chips on their shoulders, with slights and frustrations who are serious competitors though. They do their scouting a little differently than anyone else. They try to find the “dog” players. The mentality with that dog/edge you need to be successful in this game.
That ability to overcome the adversity and to get past bad plays and still go have great games. It’s a different kind of mindset. So when you get out there and you see Pete [Carroll] and he instills that optimist ‘compete compete compete’ mentality couple with the chip on all these guys shoulder you get the Seattle Seahawks and all their successes.”
Has Pete Carroll created a support group for those with chips on their shoulder?
“Yeah somewhat. Somewhat. He’s rounded up all of us and told us to compete and that’s about the worst thing you can tell these guys with chips on their shoulders because they will try to mangle everything in front of them to prove their worth and that’s regardless of pay, regardless of contracts. Whatever happens guys like that aren’t satisfied with monetary gains. They are not even satisfied with winning. It’s like an unquenchable thirst up there.”
On the transition to being a leader
“Well you have to perform and you have to play at a high level. Not a lot of guys are going to listen to a guy who is not showing up on Sundays and who is not playing at a high level, who is not going out there and executing and showing up in a crunch and clutch making clutch plays. If you are going out there and betting beat a lot and you are losing your one on one matchups you don’t have a lot of credibility to speak as a leader.
So if you are trying to be a leader I mean a lot of it comes by example. If you lead by example that allows you and gives you the I don’t know the respect amongst your peers so that you can continue to speak. If I’m going out there and I’m getting pro bowls and all pros and I’m playing at a high level and I’m making big plays when we need them then I can go out there and talk to a guy and have his respect and he understands that when we’re on game day I’m going to show up in a big way and there is credibility in that.”
On what he is working on outside football
“Well we have the Richard Sherman Blanket Coverage, the family foundation and our goal, our mission statement is to go out there and help as many underprivileged kids as we can through academia and also in the sports world. You know there are a lot of kids that try to use sports as an avenue to get away from the crime and the violence of the inner city and things like that so … but they don’t always have the funds and needs because they are in the inner city and their families don’t have the means or resources so you want to go out there and find as many of those families as you can and give those people the opportunity whether it’s monetary or cleats or gloves or school supplies, backpacks, pencils, pens computers whatever you can give to help them you know reach the next step of their journey.
You know help these kids that might take a different path because they just don’t have the resources, they don’t have the financial means to be successful, to buy the things they need to do, to buy to be successful. You want to go out there and help those kids. You want to go out there and allow them to have the same chance that everybody else has to be successful and I think in doing that we are going to change the path of a lot of kids and that’s the hope.”
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