Shaquill Griffin wants a postgame hug from Richard Sherman.
And his game jersey. Even though it’s an enemy one.
Win or lose, Griffin says he plans to meet his mentor on the Seahawks as a rookie last year through March when Seattle essentially fired Sherman the center of CenturyLink Field on Sunday. That will be immediately following the game between Griffin’s Seahawks and Sherman’s San Francisco 49ers.
Griffin told Sherman in their latest, regular talk/texting on Tuesday that he wants to swap game jerseys, a hugely popular habit between players on opposing teams in the NFL.
Sherman’s No. 25 will instantly become the prized possession in Griffin’s collection.
Even with it on a 49ers jersey.
“It’s always all love man,” Griffin said.
With some of Seattle debating whether it should boo Sherman upon his return Sunday, there is no debate for the Seahawks. Especially not for Griffin.
The starting cornerback still marvels at what Sherman did for him.
Griffin was a rookie cornerback in June 2017, at an offseason practice weeks after the Seahawks drafted him. At one of the first workouts of his NFL career, Griffin saw Seattle’s famous No. 25 — the superstar he grew up idolizing and watching on television play in Super Bowls, saw on a Sports Illustrated cover in 2013 after taunting Tom Brady with “You mad, bro?” following a Seattle win over New England in 2012 — approaching him on the Seahawks practice field.
Griffin said he was thinking that day: “Oh, crap! Richard Sherman is taking to me!”
“And then: Make sure I listen to every, single thing that he says.
“Then after a while, you get comfortable,” Griffin said. “And you are like, ‘Dang, man! It’s really kind of cool to sit here and then play with a guy like that.’”
Sherman didn’t just give the rookie some pointers that day. He spent the next seven months teaching Griffin every nuance of playing cornerback, of life in the NFL.
A Stanford man, husband and father, a Super Bowl-winning superstar from Compton just south of Los Angeles, and a Central Florida rookie, a bachelor from the Tampa Bay area just out of college, bonded for life.
“Very special. It’s kind of hard to put into words,” Griffin said.
“I’m definitely grateful, for him to do that, because he didn’t have to. It’s not in his job description to have to take a rookie under his wing and help out. And he did it, from the kindness of his heart and being the genuine guy that he is.”
Sherman taught Griffin about Carroll’s step-kick technique unique to Seahawks cornerbacks. About how to read receivers’ eyes and bodies to get a jump on where he and the ball is going.
Most impacting to Griffin, Sherman taught the kid how to be a man in the NFL.
“He taught me how to be a pro,” Griffin said.
“He taught me how to take care of myself, on and off the field. Take care of your body. Rehab. Treatment. Eating well. Watching enough film. Taking a couple hours out of your day, just to watch a little bit more. Knowing how to stay poised in different situations on the field. Different techniques.
“He just taught me how to be a pro, on and off.”
Essentially, though they didn’t know it at the time, Sherman was grooming his replacement in Seattle for 2018. Since week one of this season, Griffin has been in Sherman’s left-cornerback spot.
Griffin has so much reverence for Sherman, he hasn’t considered he is now in Sherman’s Seahawks spot.
“I never really thought about it that way, actually,” Griffin said.
They still talk and text. Sherman has made it clear if his protégé has any questions about anything—defending receivers, knowing quarterbacks, life—Griffin can reach out to him anytime, division rivals be damned.
“Like I said, he’s just a genuine guy. He doesn’t have to do that, either,” Griffin said.
“I actually talked to him (Tuesday). Just checking on him.”
“I told him I need that jersey.”
Source: TheNewsTribune | Gregg Bell | November 29, 2018