Richard Sherman is cementing his Hall of Fame legacy

NFL Playoffs, San Francisco 49ers

In nine years out of Stanford University, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is cementing his legacy as a future Pro Football Hall of Famer.

When you’re drafted in the fifth round out of Stanford, you can’t reasonably be expected to do much in the NFL. But not every former fifth-rounder is Richard Sherman.

By year three in the league playing for Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks, Sherman was a Pro Bowler, a two-time First-Team All-Pro, the league’s leader in interceptions and most importantly, a Super Bowl champion.

Sherman starred in the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom defense, helping Seattle win two NFC Championships and nearly repeat as champs in 2014. Unfortunately, Malcolm Butler got in the way of a Russell Wilson pass and Sherman was left on the sidelines to watch.

That’s when things started to change for Sherman and the Seahawks.

While Sherman made four Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams in Seattle, his career looked to be on the decline in 2017. A ruptured Achilles in a Week 10 game could have signified a great career cut short. Sherman never played in another game for the team that drafted him.

After seven years, he bet on himself.

It was a questionable move to represent himself at the negotiating table as a free agent in 2018. He opted to sign with Seattle’s rival in the San Francisco 49ers, signing a three-year, incentive-laden contract. People laughed, but a renaissance year for the 31-year-old on the 2019 49ers has given him an undoubted spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With one more win, Sherman will make his third trip to the Super Bowl in nine seasons. Getting to his fifth Pro Bowl only adds to his credentials. Should his 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night and the AFC champion down in Miami in two weeks, another Lombardi Trophy also goes on the resumè.

For Sherman, his Hall of Fame candidacy was solid before this season. Now it’s spectacular. Moving forward, it’s about climbing ranks within the Hall.

Sherman was the vocal and emotional leader of that vaunted Seattle secondary. His star power cut through in a way a franchise quarterback tends to do, for at least a little while. Was Sherman a first-ballot Hall of Famer entering this season? No, but he’s making it awfully hard not to be now.

Still, Sherman may not get in on the first ballot. There are so many incredible defensive backs who are still waiting for David Baker to knock on their door and give them a big ole hug during Super Bowl week. Secondary standouts like Steve Atwater, Ronde Barber and John Lynch have waited for years and are still not in.

Given the position Sherman plays, one more postseason moment would be divine. Fortunately for Sherman, he’s in the spotlight again,  proving he’s one of the best cornerbacks of his generation.

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