Maybe age had finally caught up with Sherman. Maybe seven grueling years in Seattle had taken their toll.
Then Sherman made everyone take notice on Sunday when he hauled in his first interception returned for a touchdown since the 2013 season.
Maybe his critics were wrong.
Sherman is used to the lack of respect and has made a career of using it as motivation.
“When you get picked in the fifth round, it’s the ultimate lack of respect, and I don’t think you ever lose that no matter how much success you have, no matter how many accolades,” Sherman told reporters on Thursday.
Sherman is in his ninth NFL season. He’s seen players come and go. He’s witnessed the media crown other cornerbacks only to watch many of them fade away from memory.
“I’ve seen every one-hit-wonder. I’ve seen every flash in the pan,” Sherman said. “I’ve seen every guy, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is the next best thing,’ and then next year, the guy is nonexistent. You just play through all that. Consistency is year-after-year, play-after-play, day-after-day. That’s something I pride myself on.”
Sherman isn’t alone. He rattled off a few names, including Darius Slay, Chris Harris Jr., and Patrick Peterson, who have been in the league for a long time now and continue to play at a high level every year.
“It’s like they want to find somebody else, but these guys continue to make plays,” Sherman added. “[…] I don’t think enough people respect the guys who have done it for eight, nine, ten years.”
Sherman and the 49ers got the win on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His defense carried the team to a 31-17 victory, but as impressive as the unit was, Sherman is not satisfied.
“We left a few out there, but we’ve got to be hard on ourselves, and we’ve got to be critical,” Sherman said. “You can’t be complacent. We feel good for it to be a first game, and just knocking the rust off, but obviously, there’s things we can correct, and we can play at an even higher level.”
Sherman is in his second season with San Francisco after signing a three-year deal in 2018. The 49ers are in Youngstown, Ohio this week preparing for their Week 2 matchup against the suddenly surprising (despite being 0-1) Cincinanati Bengals.