Extra Points: Digging for some trash talk
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Hordes of media descended upon Midtown Manhattan and North Jersey this week hoping for a little Richard Sherman trash talk.
Seattle's star cornerback has been a star to football fans for some time, a two-time All-Pro regarded as one of the best pure cover guys in the NFL.
But, he became a mainstream media sensation after sending the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVIII with a brilliant game-saving play in the end zone against Michael Crabtree and the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
It wasn't Sherman's play, though, which revved up his star power, it was his WWE-like post-game interview which seemed to startle FOXSports sideline beauty Erin Andrews into submission.
The boastful Sherman hasn't showed in the Northeast, though, replaced by a respectful lad who has complimented his competition -- the Denver Broncos -- almost to a fault.
While Crabtree was a "sorry receiver" to Sherman, he described the Broncos' Demaryius Thomas as "one of the top five receivers in all of football."
"Coming from him, that's good. He's one of the best in the league," Thomas said before reciprocating by calling the Stanford product "one of the best and most physical corners" in the game.
Peyton Manning also got the kid gloves treatment from Sherman, a guy who turned from Muhammad Ali on the stick to Larry Holmes in the span of seven days or so.
"We wouldn't have it any other way," Sherman said of the Super Bowl matchup. "They're an unbelievable record-setting offense with a Hall of Fame quarterback. That's as tough as it gets."
The mutual admiration act is a far cry from Sherman's usual tactics and it's created quite a conundrum for certain reporters fixated on writing about his braggadocios ways.
There's always someone who gets a little antsy, however, and is willing to give the opposition a little bulletin board material.
Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton didn't exactly do that on Thursday, but he announced his intentions to do it.
Knighton is Denver's best pure run stuffer with solid quickness, agility and balance inside, a very important player in the Broncos' defensive game plan because the centerpiece of Seattle's offense is bruising tailback Marshawn Lynch.
"He's been tremendous," Broncos coach John Fox said when discussing Knighton. "He's a guy that we were familiar with coming out in the draft out of Temple as well as Jack Del Rio, our defensive coordinator, coached Terrance (in Jacksonville). So we had some pretty good insights on what kind of person and player he was. He's been nothing but A-plus for us since he's been a Bronco."
"Pot Roast" told reporters on Thursday that he's been watching plenty of film and is excited by the fact he's being leaned upon by Fox and Del Rio.
"I embrace it," Knighton said when asked about being a key part of Denver's plan to stop Lynch, the only NFL player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons, and a guy who has four 100- yard rushing performances in six career postseason games.
"Even if it wasn't being talked about, I would think that myself. Being the nose tackle, and knowing that Marshawn Lynch is their guy, it starts with stopping the run. I take pride in that. That's why we've been successful the past few weeks because we've just taken pride in stopping running backs."
To do his job, Knighton has been focusing on Seahawks center Max Unger in order to ascertain how other defensive tackles have attacked the Pro Bowl selection.
"I'm going against Max Unger this week," Knighton continued. "He's a good player. He's real crafty. He knows a lot of tricks of the trade of trying to influence you to do certain things. I've just been watching him over and over, and trying to figure out what he's thinking about, and how other guys in the league have been successful.
"Arizona played them pretty well, their defensive front. I've just been watching a lot of guys, watching as much as I can."
The far more interesting part of Knighton's preparation was the fact that he admitted he would be doing research on Unger's personal life in order to get under his skin during the game, a tact made famous by former Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle, who used to devour the opposition's media guide in an effort to find something to tweak his opponent with.
"Today I'll start Googling him and doing all types of stuff to guide out his personal life," Knighton admitted. "I want to know everything about him. Just everything, from his favorite food to his favorite color, where he grew up at, how many siblings he has. I want to know everything about him, and I'll probably talk a little smack Sunday."
Still, this isn't exactly going to be "The Rock" laying the smack down on John Cena or even Randle antagonizing former Packers center Frank Winters.
"I have a lot of respect for him," Knighton said of Unger. "He's the middle of their offense, and I take pride in being the middle of our defense. So it's going to come down to that matchup really with a team that likes to run the ball. I'm pretty sure he's studying me right now, and I'll be studying him as soon as I leave here.
"May the best man win."
Trash talking sure has changed.
01/30 16:50:22 ET