Tom Brady is quite amazing because not only is he perhaps the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, but he’s a truly accomplished recruiting coordinator for his team.
Since his arrival in Tampa Bay, Brady has been responsible for tight end Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement and signing with the Buccaneers. He convinced wide receiver Antonio Brown to sign with the Buccaneers. Same with running back Leonard Fournette.
And, yes, Brady also did great work in getting former Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman to sign this week with the Buccaneers.
But Brady’s not getting all the credit for this one.
Sherman had a relationship with Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich from their time with Arizona when they’d play against Sherman twice a year in the NFC West.
But, nope, that’s not it, either.
Sherman also wanted to make sure he signed with a Super Bowl contender. And that definitely includes the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs.
“I know their work. They had a heck of a run last year through the playoffs and played really fantastic football,” Sherman said Wednesday. “So I’ve watched on tape. I’ve never had a chance to meet them, but they’re all real fun guys to be around — just, I’ve been here for one day and we’ve had a good time.”
Nope, not it either.
So if it wasn’t just about the coaching staff, or the team’s reputation, or even Brady that sealed the deal for Sherman, then what was it?
“There’s a ton that goes into it,” he said. “Obviously the biggest part is your wife … She’s the one that checks off the box and honestly, that was the final go-ahead.
“When she said you can go across the country and I’ll hold down the ship, that was a huge part of it.”
Yes, Ashley Moss has been married to Sherman since 2018. The couple live on the west coast and have a family. And when she approved, Sherman was headed east to Florida.
But there was a conversation first.
“It was like, ‘Hey, San Francisco called, how do you feel about that? They’re not offering anything yet, what do you feel about this? Seattle is kind of stringing you along, haven’t offered anything. Tampa is the most aggressive’ and then Tom actually called,” Sherman said.
“And once he calls, you better come or you’re going to regret not coming is what it seems like.
“She thought this would be the best opportunity to go and do what I love and go play at a high level and have a chance at chasing the trophy. Obviously in San Francisco they have a fantastic team as well so the opportunity would have been there as well, but this is a fun environment. I tried to wait as long as I could to avoid the heat. Not heat but whatever this is. But I think the time was right.”
Not to diminish the Brady legend, Sherman did show proper respect to the quarterback’s recruiting acumen.
“Me and Tom have had a great relationship over the years,” Sherman said. “People get confused about on the off-field stuff, but we’ve texted over the years and had a really cool relationship and always thought it’d be really cool to play together if we had the opportunity.
“It’s crazy how things shake it. It shook out this way and things presented themselves, obviously I talked about the relationship with B.A. and Todd and Byron, so it’s a perfect situation and perfect fit and I’m excited to be here.”
The Buccaneers need help at cornerback with injuries to Jamel Dean, who’s status is uncertain for Sunday and beyond, and Sean Murphy-Bunting who is on injured reserve. So what do they get in Sherman?
“I think I bring a level of leadership, accountability,” he said. “I think I bring a high level of play. I think sometimes from the outside looking in people think, ‘Oh man, he’s just old,’ and that changes the level of play but it really doesn’t.
“You know, my standard of play is just higher. The standard people hold me to is just higher. I’m not allowed to have bad games. I’m not allowed to give up catches without getting killed. So I think that accountability, I’ll bring that. And hopefully I’ll earn the respect of my teammates.”
Tampa Bay travels to Foxborough, MA on Sunday to play the New England Patriots. The game will be mostly about Tom Brady returning to play his former team.
Will it also be about a Richard Sherman debut?
“It’s anybody’s guess,” Sherman said. “I need at least a week of practice to really hone things in to play at the level I’m capable of.
“It would be foolish to expect me to come out this week and play at a super-high level. If I did it, it’d be another thing to chalk up as a cool thing I did. But I think the expectation is for me to train and get in shape and get an opportunity for the following game.”