RENTON, Wash. (AP) Richard Sherman does not believe in video game curses.
The Seattle Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback will have his image plastered on the front of the next version of EA Sports' popular ''Madden'' football game. It's an honor that's allegedly been fraught with peril for some past recipients who have either had subpar seasons or suffered injuries the year they were on the cover.
''I don't think about anything like that. It's just something that's been fabricated, I think,'' Sherman said Monday.
The video game cover, the result of winning an online vote, is just another byproduct of what's become an offseason of accolades for Sherman. Whether it was new endorsements or a contract extension that made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, there have been plenty of opportunities for Sherman to become distracted from his job.
Yet, whenever the Seahawks were holding a session as part of their offseason program, Sherman was there. Seattle coach Pete Carroll noted Monday that Sherman has missed ''maybe a day'' of the voluntary offseason program.
''It's voluntary but I'm a ball player. What else am I going to be doing? When you're a ballplayer at the heart and this is what you sleep, breathe and eat, this is where you want to be,'' Sherman said. ''I couldn't imagine myself being anywhere else because you just feel the itch to be back on the field, to be back with your teammates, to be back out there getting better.''
That's not to say Sherman hasn't enjoyed being a Super Bowl champion. The perks have been plentiful, from endorsement deals to a contract that will keep him in Seattle through the 2018 season and pay him $40 million in guaranteed money.
But that's meant little on the practice field during OTAs, other than providing fodder for teammates to joke with their star cornerback.
''I think it's more about love for the game that allows us not to get complacent,'' Sherman said. ''That's why you've got All-Pros and Pro Bowlers are out here every day of OTAs playing like they're still fifth (round) and undrafted players trying to fight for a job. That's how it's always going to be.''
Carroll said he believes Sherman has handled the offseason hoopla as well as possible while maintaining his commitment to the team. Part of that commitment means educating the younger players Seattle has drafted or signed in the hopes of finding another gem in the draft like Seattle did getting Sherman in the fifth round.
''That's the kind of program we run here. You can show them better than you can tell them, with your actions. You fly to the ball, you play hard, you play disciplined, sound football and when they have questions you're there to answer their questions and you push them and make sure they know their assignments,'' Sherman said. ''It's not like a lot of other programs where you are closed off and can't talk to anybody. We make sure we're open books.''
NOTES: Carroll said LB Bruce Irvin's hip surgery last week was successful and the team believes he'll be back by the start of the season. Carroll said it was an issue that had been bothering Irvin for some time. ... Rookie second-round draft pick WR Paul Richardson sat out practice as a precaution after landing on his shoulder last week. ... RB Robert Turbin had his knee ''cleaned up'' during the offseason and Carroll said that has helped Turbin stand out during OTAs. Turbin and Christine Michael have gotten the majority of the work with Marshawn Lynch absent.
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