Richard Sherman steals the show at Super Bowl Media Day
NEWARK -- Super Bowl Media Day seemed a slight misnomer. It was more like Richard Sherman Day, considering that he was asked to: sing lyrics (to win an Xbox One), say phrases in Spanish, opine on the issue of strip clubs (he said he never has attended), comment on white people who wear Sherman-style dreadlocks (he's all for it) and hug a microphone-carrying woman wearing a Sherman Seahawks jersey.
The star cornerback has become a full-fledged celebrity after his infamous outburst following the NFC Championship Game. He drew the largest gathering Tuesday and had the liveliest 60-minute session. The quirky energy was worthy of an appearance by Justin Bieber, about whom Sherman also was asked (he had no opinion).
Sherman loved the whole thing. Unlike just about all of the other players, he repeatedly rose from his chair and interacted with the throng around his booth. And he never went more than a few seconds without smiling and laughing.
He warmly greeted one correspondent whose only "question" was, "Today is my birthday!" Sherman obliged when singer Michelle Williams, one of many representing half-hour entertainment news shows, challenged him to sing.
"The Super Bowl is a tremendous event. If you let things stress you and worry you, you're going to have a rough week of it. So I told myself I would enjoy it," said the man who looked like he could replace Jimmy Fallon in a snap.
Sherman's raw, high-voltage television interview after his deflection against the 49ers clinched the NFC title made him a household name. In many households, the words were not flattering. He admits it was a mistake to overshadow his teammates and he insists it was a mistake for people to judge him on those 20 seconds.
Anyway, much of the country has since learned his story -- honor student, Stanford graduate, son of demanding, hardworking parents -- and has fallen for him.
"I don't have anything to hide," he said. "I don't have any bad things in my past that I'm like, 'Oh man, they're going to find that out.' I live my life trying to be a good human being and trying to help as many kids as I can. The more that people look, the more they'll see that."
For Sherman, "a gift for the gab" comes naturally, as it did for his idol, Muhammad Ali. "I think his situation was a lot more brave, a lot more serious than my situation is now," he said.
"I don't necessarily like being the center of attention," Sherman said. "I guess talking gets you the center of attention sometimes . . . Guys talk trash to you, you bring it back to them. And once you prove them wrong, you give it to them again."
He was hoping to sample NBA repartee at the Nets game Monday night.
"I wanted to hear KG say something," he said, referring to Kevin Garnett. "Man, I heard he's a great talker. I listened, but I didn't hear anything."
Still, Sherman did have a seat at courtside, befitting a celebrity.