Richard Sherman was once considered the best cornerback in the NFL during his time with the Seattle Seahawks and their famed “Legion of Boom.” But Sherman’s career eventually came to an end following the 2021 campaign, and he remembered the exact play that told him it was time to hang up his cleats.
Sherman was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All Pro and a Super Bowl champion when he arrived in Tampa Bay to play with the Buccaneers on a one-year deal for the 2021 season. He had completed his second year with the San Francisco 49ers the season prior, after seven outstanding seasons in Seattle.
But a meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles would change the then-33-year-old’s mind about continuing his NFL career, and it was a specific route that rookie DeVonta Smith ran against him at Lincoln Financial Field.
“I’ll never forget I was in Tampa and I had just come back from an injury. A calf injury or something,” he said on his “The Richard Sherman Podcast. “…It was my third game and we had y’all on a Thursday night and DeVonta must’ve ran the comeback. And I had him under control. I was like, bang, quick jam. Easy, got him under control.
“He must’ve stopped and I tried to stop and my whole groin said, ‘Snap, snap, snap, snap. Woah, woah.’ Then, you’re trying to guard him, you’re like chasing him around like, ‘Please don’t throw him the ball.’ Our coach is looking at me on the sideline like, ‘Hey, you want to come out?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but they’re in a hurry-up.’ I’m like bailing out.
“At that moment, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is probably my last year. I don’t got it for these young dudes right now.’”
Smith was balling out when the Bucs and Eagles met for “Thursday Night Football,” as he had 199 combined yards in the two games prior. But, despite Sherman believing he couldn’t keep up with Smith, he only finished with two catches for 31 yards that game on four targets.
The Bucs would also end up winning, 28-22.
However, as Sherman noted, injuries didn’t help matters in his final year. He dealt with the calf injury before an Achilles injury ended his season.
Sherman played just five games with the Bucs, though he did have one interception and a fumble recovery over that span.
Sherman did, however, see what Smith was bringing to the NFL, as the Alabama product had a breakout sophomore season last year with 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 receptions from quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Meanwhile, Sherman converted to his sports media career.
POST AUTHOR: Scott Thompson