YSTL: Why did Harbaugh break mold, speak about his contract?
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The offseason is the time for NFL players to recover and, at the same time, build the foundation of strength and stamina they’ll need to help get through a grueling season. Many of them head to big name training centers in Florida, Atlanta, Arizona or Southern California. It makes sense. A big name pro player needs a big name performance center, right?
Not Richard Sherman. The All-Pro and Super Bowl winning cornerback for Seattle is just fine returning to The Farm to start his preparation. Apparently, so are many of his former college teammates.
“I come back every offseason. We all do. I just saw Andrew [Luck] and all the guys, [Zach] Ertz, [Griff and/or Ryan] Whalen. Most of the guys come back. This is home for us,” Sherman explained. “This is where you built your base, where you did a lot of your damage … Home base is where you feel comfortable. I don’t think you should ever pay anybody to train you in something you’re professional in.”
David Shaw has 84 players listed on his spring roster, but this time of year the Stanford coach shares the fields and weight room with many players who no longer have eligibility.
“There are a lot of NFL guys in town now,” Shaw said after Tuesday night’s practice. “We’ll have between 20 and 25, most likely, come from now through the end of the summer, being here to work out, being here to hang out with the guys, checking in with their old coaching staff.”
Hanging out in the newly built 1,500 square foot locker room created specifically for Stanford alumni in the NFL makes the homecoming that much better.
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“It feels nice to have somewhere you can go when you come here and work out,” Sherman said. “You don’t have to bum any other young guy’s locker or anything. You got your own space, and it feels good. I think Stanford’s come a long way in the football department, and they’ve been winning, and I think we deserve it.”
Sherman was part of the initial group that started Stanford on its winning ways. He was the team’s leading receiver as a freshman in 2006, the year the Cardinal posted a 1-11 record. Then Jim Harbaugh became head coach in 2007. After a medical redshirt year, Sherman switched to defensive back in 2009. In 2010, his senior season, the Cardinal went 11-1, won the Orange Bowl for the program’s first ever BCS bowl victory and Stanford’s monumental turnaround was complete.
“It’s a testament to a lot of groups of guys. It’s a testament to the group of guys that came before us who set the ground work for us,” Sherman said. “Jim Harbaugh did a heck of a job changing the culture and changing the mindset, and also the players now continuing the tradition, continuing to be hungry, continuing to fight and grind and win.”
Sherman will only be in town for a few days, but while he’s here, he’s willing to answer any and all questions by the Stanford players.
“Just different technique. What I did to get better. How I watch film. Some of them, ‘How’s the NFL?’ and things like that. Guys just curious to know how I feel to win a Super Bowl, and then some of them want help with technique and things that I have a lot of knowledge on.”
Sherman plans to coach after his playing career is over, perhaps at the high school level, he says. He’s preparing for that career change by watching Stanford's practices this week, though he’s not a quiet observer.
“He’s trying not to coach from the sidelines but he couldn’t help himself sometimes,” Shaw said. “But just the fact that he’s here, just the fact that he’s around reaffirms with a lot of guys why they came here. They want to be where he is, which is an NFL player with a Stanford degree.”