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Richard Sherman will do his job, whether or not they throw at him

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gestures during the

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gestures during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Carolina Panthers in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. Credit: AP / Elaine Thompson

It was suggested to Richard Sherman this past week that he pick out a good book or select a magazine to bring with him onto the field for Sunday's game against the Packers, just to give him something to do.

"I'll have to work on that,'' the All-Pro cornerback said with a chuckle. "Probably not in the NFC Championship, but we'll work on that another time.''

He could have in Week 1, which is exactly why the reading materials came up. Back then, the Packers didn't just shy away from Sherman, they avoided him completely. Not a single pass was thrown in his direction. Aaron Rodgers would spot number 25 and then look away, find someplace else to go with the football.

"That's pretty rare when that happens,'' Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I've heard their comments about that, which were guys weren't open or available when they wanted them to be, and it wasn't such an intent to not throw it that way . . . But that's pretty rare.''

So rare, in fact, that the Seahawks are not expecting it to happen again.

Nor are the Packers, apparently.

Rodgers spoke about how important it is to throw to both sides of the field. And Jordy Nelson said he's not concerned about potentially being frozen out by Sherman's mere presence.

"If we get matched up, yeah, obviously it would be a great challenge and a great opportunity,'' Nelson said. "We're just going to run our offense and do what we need to do to win the game.''

It was a year ago that Sherman made the play that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, tipping away a pass intended for Michael Crabtree of the 49ers and then diving headlong into America's consciousness with a raucous postgame interview with Erin Andrews.

Sherman hasn't produced many of those tirades since. If anything, he's become a more levelheaded thinker, doling out praise and respect where it is warranted. He spoke highly of Giants rookie Odell Beckham Jr. after the Seahawks' game against the Giants earlier this season and has given props to Rodgers this week.

The same transformation has happened on the field. Especially when opposing teams do limit his chances.

"You've got to resist the urge to gamble and to try to force things to happen, to try to force them over there,'' Sherman said. "I think when I was younger, I used to do that a little more than I do now. Now I just do my job and let things happen that are going to happen. You have to resist the urge to try to get involved elsewhere, because that's how you get your team beat in kind of a selfish play.''

Sherman never abandoned his post in that Week 1 game. In fact, he said he didn't realize he had not been thrown at until the game was over.

"That's not something you think about during the game or something,'' he said. "You just play every play like the ball's coming your way, and at the end of the day, you let the chips fall where they may and what happens happens.''

What happens with Sherman could determine which team advances to Super Bowl XLIX. Sherman has a penchant for making big plays in big games. But the Packers will be the ones who control if he gets that opportunity at all.

New York Sports