JERSEY CITY, N.J. — If people were looking for Richard Sherman to get the weeklong hype for the Super Bowl started with another rant, the Seattle cornerback disappointed them.
With about a dozen camera crews and 50 reporters surrounding him at a table, Sherman smiled broadly, winked when a reporter asked him about his rant at Michael Crabtree after the NFC championship game, and played it close to the vest in discussing the Super Bowl next Sunday against Denver at Metlife Stadium.
There were no harsh words Sunday night. He talked about his respect for the Broncos' offense, his friendship with Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas and the fact that the blowup with Crabtree led to a good discussion about race relations.
There were neither guarantees nor boasts. Just honest talk.
“I think you are always cognizant of it as football players, especially in today's world, that everyone is looking for a story and they are trying to get their name in the paper,” Sherman said when asked if anyone had advised him to tone it down this week.
Sherman is clearly more conscious about what he says after falling into disfavor with many people for his postgame rant in which he said Crabtree is a subpar receiver. The comments came moments after Sherman deflected a pass for Crabtree in the end zone late in the fourth quarter and it was intercepted, sealing the Seahawks' trip to the Meadowlands.
The rant with a sideline reporter seemed to transform Sherman from a player considered one of the NFL's best cornerbacks to someone who some considered a thug.
Sherman doesn't see himself that way.
“I am just a guy trying to be the best,” Sherman said. “I am a guy who wants to help this team win. I am a fiery competitor who puts his life into his work and puts his everything into his work. I came from humble beginnings and came from a place where not everyone gets out of. I am just trying to affect the world in a positive way.”
Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said Sherman is clearly a great cornerback, who has gotten noticed because of his comments last week. He admits he likes players with personalities and has nothing bad to say about him.
He also understands that people who did not know Sherman are basing their opinion on one glimpse.
“When a lot of people don't know you and that's what you show them, and they haven't heard your name all day, which is typical for a corner who doesn't get a lot of balls, that's the way it is,” Bailey said. “That's how it is. People make their judgments on what they see and hear and if they don't know you they are going to draw their own conclusion. You have to live with it. If you are going to talk, you have to live with it.”
In the past week, Sherman said he has reached out to Ronnie Lott and Deion Sanders for advice on how to prepare for a Super Bowl. He also downplayed the Seahawks' lack of experience playing in the Super Bowl. Only one player, receiver Ricardo Lockette, has Super Bowl experience, playing with the 49ers last year.
“I've never seen experience play in games,” Sherman said, noting the Seahawks had very little experience heading into last week's conference championship game.