What My Off Season Was Really Like
I know why you’re probably here. There’s been a lot out there in the media about me this off-season — about my teammates, about our team. And I’ll get to all that that. But you really want to know what the craziest part of my off-season has been?
I have two kids now, and they’re both walking. And I’m telling you: You don’t realize how dangerous your house is until you have little kids running around.
We had to put plastic covers on all the electrical sockets, gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, little rubber pads on the corners of all the tables … it’s crazy. And I never realized how many sharp, breakable and chewable things we had on the bottom shelves of our bookcases, either. So we had to take everything off the bottom shelves
Then, we had to take the shelves off so the kids wouldn’t pull them off or climb up on them.
Lock all the cabinets. Lock all the drawers. Every time you turn around, you’re like, “Nooo! Put that down!”
Every day, you’re trying to save them from something.
But I love it because … they’re my kids, and it’s fun. It’s challenging. I’m learning a level of patience I never even knew I had.
Of all the joys I’ve been fortunate enough to experience in my life, fatherhood is by far the greatest. So when the season ends, that’s what I focus on most. I focus on my kids. My family. I have to, because when the season comes back around, this game … it consumes you. You think about it all day and all night.
That’s probably the toughest part of my job at this stage of my career. To have success in this game, you literally have to live it — and while I do that, I also have to find a way to put in the time and effort it takes to be the best father possible. It can be a difficult balance to maintain.
It’s funny, because my son, Rayden — who’s 2½ — kind of understands what I’m doing now whenever I leave the house to go to work. So now, when I go to an early morning workout, if he’s awake, he wants to come with. It’ll still be dark outside and I’ll be in sweats, ready to walk out the door, and he’ll come out, still wearing his pajamas, and he’ll say in his little voice, “I wanna work out too, Daddy.”
How do you say no to that?
It’s tough. So sometimes I take him out to the field with me. And when I do, he shadows me. He chases me down no matter what I’m doing. If I’m on the field backpedaling, he’s right there next to me, trying to backpedal, too. It’s pretty cool. And it’s kind of perfect because when I’m out there, I’m getting my work in. But at the same time, I’m enjoying being with my son.
My two kids … they’ve been my biggest focus since January.
But nobody wants to talk about that. Nobody outside of my inner circle seems to want to talk about my family, or my kids, or even how I’m feeling now that I’m rested and ready for my seventh NFL season.
All anybody seems to want to talk about is the off-season trade rumors, or Russell Wilson, or the Super Bowl from two damn years ago.
And don’t get me wrong. I get it. That’s the world we live in. We live in a world of headlines and clickbait and speculation and sensationalism. So I just go with it, because it’s part of the job.
People don’t believe me when I say it, but honestly, this off-season — aside from chasing two kids around the house for the first time in my life — hasn’t been any different than any other off-season. Business as usual, as far as I’m concerned.
We live in a world of headlines and clickbait and speculation and sensationalism.
People say, “What about the trade rumors?”
Well, first of all, I’m not sitting at home watching ESPN all day long. When I am in front of my TV, I’m playing Call of Duty, watching Family Guy or catching a movie with my fiancée. I didn’t even know the trade talk was out in the media until a couple of friends and teammates started texting me about it — and they laughed it off as quickly as I did because they know me, they know the business and they understood immediately that it just wasn’t a big deal.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Trade talks happen every off-season. The only difference this year is that it happened to become public for some strange reason. It’s really just the nature of the business. John Schneider and Pete Carroll are always looking for ways to improve this team. They’re always looking to be competitive. And I don’t blame them.
The media had a lot of fun with it because the trade talks were news to everybody else in the world … except me, John and Pete. We had an open dialogue from the jump. We talked about the possibility of a trade. And then we just went about our respective off-seasons, like we always do.
And my off-season consisted mostly of trying to be the best father I could possibly be.
But I took some time for myself, too. I went on vacation. I moved forward with some of the charity work I love to do. We even had an original L.O.B. reunion with Brandon Browner at Kam Chancellor’s wedding. The off-season as a whole was actually … pretty great.
But people don’t want to talk about Kam or the L.O.B.
They want to talk about Russell Wilson and the tension — or whatever you want to call it — that supposedly exists between us.
I’m sure you heard about what happened at a practice back in 2014: I picked Russell off, and then yelled back at him — I said something I wouldn’t want my kids to hear me say. I yelled, “You f***ing suck.”
That 100% happened. Nobody denies that.
But do you really believe that I think Russell sucks?
Of course not. That’s nonsense. I was just being the same crazy ass competitor I’ve always been. I’ve probably told 100 quarterbacks in my life that they f***ing suck. I’m not proud of it, but what do you think you’re watching out here? This is football. We all know the deal.
It’s just competition.
If you haven’t competed at this level, I don’t expect you to understand. But if you know anything about the Seattle Seahawks and Pete Carroll, you know: Compete, compete, compete. Pete believes in that, and so do the rest of us. So when I’m at practice, I’m competing — whether it’s the week before the Super Bowl, or when we’re in shorts and helmets in the middle of June.
So you could take that moment when I picked Russell off and chirped back at him, and you could take it out of context and say, “Oh, there must be discord in Seattle.”
Or … you could recognize it as a competitive moment.
I’ve probably told 100 quarterbacks in my life that they f***ing suck. I’m not proud of it, but what do you think you’re watching out here? This is football.
Iron sharpens iron. One person sharpens another. And the corners on Sundays aren’t going to go easy on Russell. So why would I go easy on him during the week? That’s not helping him prepare for Sunday. That’s not making him better. And I know that there’s nothing he’s going to face on Sunday that he will not have already seen in practice, because we practice how we play. We compete. So no matter what happens in the game, he’ll know how to respond.
And that day at practice? After I made that pick? He did respond. He turned it up a notch. The whole team did. And after practice, it was all love. All handshakes and, “Good practice, bro.” All the way around.
That’s how we practiced all season.
And it helped get us back to the Super Bowl.
That’s the thing: You can take a snapshot of a competitive moment — any moment, really — and build an entire narrative around it. You can build a narrative of competition and unity, or discord and division. And the media today has gone Hollywood. They put the movie magic into their stories to make them more dramatic. So they want discord over competition, and division over unity, because … clicks. And sometimes, they’re creating a story that isn’t there.
Take the argument I got into with Pete Carroll on the sideline last year. We were arguing and I was yelling. Now, if you knew nothing else about us, maybe you’d assume that we didn’t have the best relationship.
The media today has gone Hollywood. They put the movie magic into their stories to make them more dramatic.
But the reality is, I’ve known Pete since 2004 when I was a junior in high school and he pulled me out of class to try to convince me to commit to USC. I played against him in college and he drafted me because he knew he was getting a player who was going to compete every day. My relationship with Pete goes as far back as any professional relationship I have, and I have a tremendous amount of love, respect and admiration for him. He’s had a profound impact on my life.
That day? We just got into a fight. And that’s just part of being family. Sometimes, family members fight.
At the end of the day, these things don’t affect me or any of the other guys in the locker room. In fact, Russell and I have laughed about all this stuff, as have the other guys.
I guess the only thing that really bothers me about all these off-season rumors and stories is that to me, people who are in the news business have an obligation to be honest and precise with their words because they can have an enormous impact on the opinions of the fans. And if they’re writing stories based on speculation or conjecture instead of facts, and those stories are negatively impacting public opinion, then to me that’s irresponsible.
I’m a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. I don’t care about what people think of me. If you love me, great. If you hate me, that’s cool, too.
I just want people’s opinions of me to be rooted in fact, not speculation or conjecture.
For example, there were people who said that I wanted out of Seattle this off-season.
That could not be further from the truth.
The truth is, I do not want out of Seattle.
Let me say it again….
I do not want out of Seattle.
I couldn’t be happier with where I am, or where we’re at as a team. We’ve had a great run of off-season workouts. Earl Thomas is back. Michael Bennett and the other guys who have been banged up — myself included — are healthy and ready to make another Super Bowl run. We’re confident in each other, and we trust one another.
That’s why we let everything hang out. We don’t hide anything because it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. No matter what it might look like from the outside, inside our building, it’s all love, appreciation and respect for one another.
That’s the truth.
It just doesn’t make for a sensational, clickable headline.
So yeah, it’s been a crazy off-season. But not because of all the nonsense out in the media. It’s been crazy because I’ve had my hands full with chasing my kids around, babyproofing the house and just trying to soak up every second I can with my family before it’s time to focus on football.
And that time is now. It’s time to go back to work. Time to put the off-season in the past and get back to business. Time to lock in. Because winning fixes everything … even if it was never broken to begin with.
Source: Players Tribune | Richard Sherman | July, 28 2017
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