Earlier this week, talented and chirpy Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman changed his Twitter handle to "Optimus Prime," all the better to handle Calvin "Megatron" Johnson when the Seahawks face the Lions today.
And by way of Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Sherman got a lot closer to the source of his inspiration. Farmer heard about Sherman's gambit and contacted Peter Cullen, who was the voice of the superhero in the "Transformers" cartoons and movies. Cullen called Sherman and gave a message that only the real Optimus Prime could.
"Richard, this is Optimus Prime," Cullen's deep voice rumbled in the message. "When you see Megatron, you must tell him… 'One shall stand, one shall fall.' Wish you the best. Roll out!"
Sherman told Farmer that he was "a little star-struck" when he got the call, and he asked Cullen to call him back and leave a voicemail that Sherman could play for his teammates.
"It was crazy, man, incredible," Sherman said. "Dude, I still watch 'Transformers.' I like everything [Optimus Prime] stands for, the character, the work ethic, the leadership. There's a lot of things about Optimus Prime that are applicable to everyday life."
When Farmer asked Cullen who would always win in a battle of Megatron and Optimus Prime, Cullen gave the odds to the hero, as you'd expect.
"Optimus Prime always wins that battle, for sure. But not without tremendous adversity coming from Megatron, and sometimes we're left up in the air."
One shall stand, one shall fall? So far this season, Sherman has the edge.
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Johnson has caught just one touchdown pass in 2012, and the Lions' passing game is struggling. Per STATS LLC, Sherman has been targeted 44 times this season, and he's allowed just 21 passes to be caught for 319 yards. Sherman hasn't allowed a touchdown, he has three interceptions, and he leads the NFL with 11 deflected passes.
"Nothing to a guy who's 6-foot-3," Sherman said on Wednesday when he was asked about the challenge of facing the 6-foot-5 Johnson. "Nothing unique about it, that's for sure. It may actually be a little less of an issue, because the closer you are in size, you might move in a similar way to him. It's better than the little guys who [move differently.] He's got a long stride, and I've got a long stride, you know what I'm saying?
"A real man doesn't use 'can't' in his vocabulary, so you definitely didn't hear that from me."
Nor would you hear it from the real Optimus Prime.
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