RICHARD SHERMAN ANSWERS THE ‘CALL OF DUTY’Would cornerback Richard Sherman have forgone his career in the NFL for a pro gaming title? We find out.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL today. He has the Super Bowl ring and $57.4 million contract extension to prove it. But he’s also a dedicated gamer.
He logs a lot of hours playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 online with teammates and cousins, especially during the off season. Sherman recently spent the weekend in New York City with Activision, handing out exclusive Crooks & Castles Call of Duty shirts to fans on the street before playing Call of Duty online with YouTubers Hike the Gamer and Typical Gamer.
Sherman on the teamwork required to win both on the field and in the professional gaming arena, and if he’d trade in his NFL career for one as a pro gamer.
THE RED BULLETIN: So the first thing I wanted to ask you is Marshawn Lynch was in Call of Duty Black Ops 3 as the first athlete ever in that video game franchise. What opportunity do you see for Richard Sherman in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare or other games?
RICHARD SHERMAN: Well, I’m sure they’re going to have aliens on there and I’m kind of a Martian myself, so they’ll find a spot for me.
You were on the cover of Madden NFL 15. Can you give us a sense of how popular Call of Duty is with NFL players?
It’s incredibly popular. It’s just a great way for us to get our minds off the grind of the sport. I play Call of Duty more than I play Madden, obviously, because I do football as a job. You don’t always want to do what you do at the job in your leisure. A lot of times I find myself playing Call of Duty with friends and my cousins. I’m on right now playing.
Activision is giving away $3 million this year to pro gamers through the Call of Duty World League. What are your thoughts on eSports and the whole phenomenon that’s selling out NBA and soccer arenas around the world?
I think it’s really cool. I really just started to get into that and understanding it. I always thought it would be cool if somebody paid me to play video games. People are getting paid incredible sums to play right now and that’s cool to see. I’d love to go to a game. I’ve played with a few pros and they really get after it. It’s nerve-racking if you’re playing against them, obviously.
Do you feel that if you hit rewind and pro gaming was an option when you were a kid that it would have altered the course of what you pursued in life?
Honestly, it wouldn’t because I wouldn’t have had the time to do it. My parents wouldn’t have just let me sit in the house and play video games all day until I was perfect. So unfortunately that wasn’t an option for me, but I probably would have tried.
NFL player Rodger Saffold of the LA Rams actually owns a Call of Duty professional team, Rise Nation Gaming. How do the skills and focus required for playing in the NFL compare to what a pro gaming team needs to excel at playing Call of Duty?
There’s a trust factor there. Obviously, individual gamers have a unique hand/eye coordination that’s unlike any other, and anticipation and awareness of your surrounding and for where your teammates are. There’s a strategic element to it. There’s definitely some correlation between what we do [in the NFL] and what they do. It’s not taking as much physical strength, but there are intense moments, and moments that we call “crunch time moments” where you’ve got to stay calm. And some people fold in those moments, so you got to respect them for not folding and then getting through those moments like they do.
You’ve gone from fifth-round draft pick that every NFL team passed on multiple times, to a Super Bowl champ and one of the best at your position. What’s your message to all the doubters?
I got less of a message for them and more of a message to the kids that are similar to me, because I believe that most of the world is. There are way more critics than there are great individuals, unique individuals that are special and masters of their craft. I think more people are comfortable criticizing than taking a chance at being great, at being an amazing person and player and human being because that ostracizes you from society in some ways. What I would say is just always believe in yourself. Don’t allow other people to discourage your vision or your belief in yourself.
Madden allows anybody to run their own NFL franchise. How would you change things if you were in charge of the NFL for a day?
I’d make it a lot more fun. I’d let people be more themselves. I think the league purposely tries to limit guy’s individual marketing value, and that’s unfortunate.
Coming off a playoff loss to the Panthers, how do you feel about the Seahawks’ chances this season?
Oh, I feel great. We have a great team. We have a great organization and we have a lot of hard-working guys that make sure they give us a chance. As long as you have that, and people are doing things the right way, you should always feel good about your chances.