Richard Sherman hadn’t scored a touchdown in three years, since he was a junior at Stanford. But he had an idea of how he’d react to his first NFL score.
He would feel like dancing, dancing, dancing the day away. And so he did.
Sherman danced in the end zone Sunday after his second-quarter pick-and-sprint contributed to the Seahawks’ 58-0 humiliation of the Arizona Cardinals. A few minutes later, he danced on his team’s 10-yard line after intercepting another John Skelton pass.
When the pummeling got to the point of wishing the NFL had a mercy rule for blowouts, Sherman even danced while on the bench. By that time the score was 51-0, and another afternoon — two interceptions, three passes defended, a fumble recovery and too many gesticulations to count — was in the books for the Seahawks’ Most Voluble Player.
“Richard Sherman is a little bit crazy; everybody knows that,” safety Earl Thomas, Sherman’s “Legion of Boom” colleague, said in the Seahawks locker room. “But he’s a hell of a player. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
The Cardinals are awful — it’s hard to believe the Seahawks lost to these guys three months ago — but the visitors had a lot to contend against on Sunday. In addition to the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field, some friendly ghosts showed up.
“It seemed like everything was going our way,” Sherman said after everything went the Hawks’ way but a couple of borderline personal foul calls. But, hey, when you get eight turnovers, when you avenge a season-opening flop against an opponent by producing the most one-sided defeat in the 92-year history of its franchise, when every tip and every bounce and every roll ends up on your side, you don’t sweat the borderline calls.
“I have never been involved in anything where the ball falls your way every single time,” Sherman continued. “It seemed like if the ball was going to come out, it was going to fall our way. Even on the fumble that I fell on and got the recovery: It just kept bouncing around and I’m thinking, no way this ball is going to bounce right to me. And it did.”
Starting cornerback Brandon Browner, who last week dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, wasn’t missed. Nor was another veteran corner, the injured Marcus Trufant.
Third-year veteran Walter Thurmond, second-year backup Byron Maxwell and even rookie Jerome Hill stepped in seamlessly.
“We’ve got great depth at cornerback,” said Sherman. “You’ve just got to trust your personnel. Last year, I was a fifth-round draft pick nobody knew about. Look how those tables have turned.”
Sherman has a personal stake in a Seahawks cornerback situation that might best be called, uh, fluid. While Browner’s decision to begin his suspension Sunday makes him eligible to return for a probable playoff game, Sherman — he also tested positive, but insists he’s innocent — is looking at an uncertain timetable.
The hearing for his appeal is scheduled for Friday, but a few hours before kickoff Sunday, it was reported that Sherman’s attorneys plan to file motions that would further stall the process. It’s conceivable Sherman’s attorneys could delay the appeal long enough for him to participate in the Hawks’ final three regular-season games, as well as the playoffs. In that case, any suspension of Sherman wouldn’t take effect until next season.
It’s also conceivable — quite unlikely, given the history of Roger Goodell’s tenure as NFL commissioner, but conceivable — that Sherman will win his appeal. For what it’s worth, he did not look like a man concerned about his immediate football future on Sunday. He played the corner with a carefree abandon, which is saying something, considering how often his assignment was to cover future Hall-of-Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Afterward, Sherman sat by his locker wearing the high-beam smile of somebody whose team found the ball falling its way again and still again.