Stanford coach David Shaw has seen both sides of Richard Sherman.
And when something has two sides, there has to be an edge that separates them.
That edge, Shaw said, it what makes the Seahawks cornerback so special on the field.
“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great players and great people,” Shaw said, via Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.
“But every once in a while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”
We’ve all had ringside seats to that edge the last two days, since Sherman’s post-game deconstruction of 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. But the subsequent apology (to his teammates, not specifically to Crabtree) shows the side Shaw’s familiar with as well.
The Stanford coach remembers how quick Sherman was to volunteer to help with a charity camp for kids with Down syndrome, and other events.
“Richard was the first to raise his hand,” Shaw said. “He was there at the beginning, and he stayed past the end. He is the farthest thing from a thug you can imagine. Thugs don’t volunteer to help out at Special Olympics when they’re in high school.
“But the flip side is a guy who’s ultra-competitive. You put him in that environment, where the game is very personal, and when the gauntlet’s thrown down, he’s ready.”
That’s the side the world was shown Sunday night. But that show was only part of a personality which has become one of the league’s biggest, and most intriguing.