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Sherman the recruiter

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Optimus was primed, but he needs a lot more practice before he’s even allowed near skates.

Seattle Seahawks first team all-pro cornerback Richard Sherman was in Vancouver earlier this week visiting fourth grade Cambridge Elementary student Matthew Baxter as part of the NFL’s ‘Play 60’ program and while in town, Sherman dropped in on a Canucks game day skate and took in Monday night’s win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

If you know anything about Sherman, the 25-year-old, 6-foot-3, 195-pound monster who has recorded 12 interceptions in two seasons since being drafted by the Seahawks in the fifth round (154th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, it’s that he’s blessed with amazing skills and a larger than life personality.

We put the exuberant California native to work.

The Seahawks have had arguably the best off-season of any NFL team signing the likes of Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett (in short, the best defence in the league just got better, while the team added one of the most versatile offensive playmakers to an already dynamic offence) BUT, as Sherman explains in this episode of Breaking the Ice, there’s still room for improvement.

Sherman can do many things on the football field, he’s one of the most gifted up and coming players in the NFL and his impact is already being felt league wide – just ask Tom Brady.

Sherman cannot do many things on ice, however, as he proved Monday when attempting to shoot pucks into an empty net from centre ice. First off, he wasn’t sure what hand he shot, right or left. Once he figured out he was a righty, he teed up and tried to Happy Gilmore the first puck into the net.

We allowed Sherman to take a mulligan.

Canucks forward Steve Pinizzotto then joined him to provide a little guidance, and, to his credit, Sherman improved with every shot, scoring once and hitting the post twice.

Hockey wasn’t a big part of Sherman’s upbringing, he later revealed to the shock of no one.

“We had street hockey, but not ice hockey,” said Sherman, accompanied by his brother Branton, his business manager. “Every time I’ve been on the ice I’ve tried to do that thing where they brake and spray ice, and every time I’ve almost fallen over and broken my ankle.”

If we had video of Sherman acting out how a hockey player stops, it would be a YouTube smash hit. Imagine Bambi, with dreadlocks, on ice and add in a lot more flailing. Then came the laughter, lots and lots of laughter.

“There’s a lot of stuff in regards to ice in my football contract, no dealing with ice,” he laughed. “The only ice in my life is out of my ice machine.”

Branton said skating was actually part of the Sherman brother’s upbringing, as mother Beverly would take the boys to the local rink now and again.

“I was much better at ice skating than him,” jabbed Branton.

“Are you really going to go there?” questioned Richard.

“I bet he didn’t tell you about the other day we had a little basketball tournament on the little machine at the place, I whopped him four times - I was beating him by 20,” smiled Branton.

“No, no, oh come on, the machine wasn’t working properly!” snapped Richard.

You can imagine what family dinners would be like at the Sherman household.

Overall Richard Sherman’s experience at the game was one to remember, despite a lack of fisticuffs between the Canucks and Coyotes in his second live NHL game.

“That was too bad,” said Richard. “I watch hockey for the fights. It’s so hard to keep up with the puck – where is it? Where is it? Where is it? GOAL – yes yes yes!”

Is there, perhaps, a place for fighting in football?

“Ya, I’ll take a little bit of fighting. It’s hard because we’ve got the full big helmets on and the league protecting the shield, they’d never let it fly. There are a couple of guys who should never get to fight though, because they’d kill somebody for sure.”

No naming names, but can you think of a few people in the NFL you’d fight?

“Yep, oh ya.”

Note to everyone: Stay on Sherman’s good side. He is, after all, better at life than you.

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