Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has not been in the league very long, but in two short seasons, the 2011 fifth-round pick out of Stanford has earned a reputation of being a player who is quite eager to provide an opinion of himself and his opponent and colleagues.
Therefore, Sherman was a natural choice to be interviewed as part of the NFL Network's "Top 100" series and the 2012 All-Pro disagreed with the placement of the No. 39 player on the list, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White.
"Roddy White. Ah, Top 100? No," Sherman bluntly said. "In my book, he's just not a Top 100 player."
White is arguably one of the top receivers in the game, catching 92 passes for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns in the 2012 regular season before adding 12 receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games. White's streak of four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances did come to an end last season, but his "back of the bubble gum card" numbers were rock solid and he ranked ninth among wide receivers in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric.
Sherman did have a mischievous grin when he made his comments on White, so perhaps he was not willing to pump White's tires, instead using his turn in front of the cameras to engage in a little psychological warfare with a player he knows he'll be matched up against next season. After all, Sherman spoke glowingly of White's teammate, Julio Jones.
"Julio Jones is high on my list," said Sherman, "because they have to account for him."
White was in the NFL Network for their reaction show — flanking Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports — and acknowledged that Sherman, who came in at No. 50 on the list, belongs among the Top 100 players in the game. However, the 31-year-old pointed out that he is higher on the list than Sherman and later saying that Sherman talked his way onto the All-Pro team.
"I'm not going to come out and say he shouldn't be a Top 100 player because he should be a Top 100 player, but he talks too much," White said. "He has talked himself into a place where he has to play some really good football this year. I have no problem when he says I'm not that good or I can't do this or I can't do that. But I know the rest of the players in this league know what I can do, and that's why I'm higher on this list than he is.
"He would actually be the first guy that I would want to face. Frankly, I watch film and I know what I can do. I know what my ability is, I know what his ability is. I sit there and watch him, and I'm like, 'Okay'. So I'm not sitting there losing any sleep getting ready to play Richard Sherman.
"He's a front-runner," said White. "When things are going good, he's all good. When things ain't going his way, he has nothing to say — that's just how he is. You let him talk in the offseason because that's what he likes to do. You let guys like that talk, but at some point when September rolls around, you got to come play football."
White had five receptions for 76 yards and beat Sherman for a 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Falcons' thrilling 30-28 win over the Seahawks in the 2012 divisional playoffs. The aftermath of that play somewhat contradicts White's assessment, though, as Sherman began jawing with White following the touchdown and gave him a sarcastic golf clap as he slowly walked away from White and other Falcons who were celebrating the touchdown.
Fortunately, we won't have to wait too long into the 2013 season for the rematch as Sherman and White will renew acquaintances when the Seahawks travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Sunday, Nov. 10. That game will be played eight days after White's 32nd birthday. We suspect that Sherman's invitation to White's birthday party will be lost in the mail.
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