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Matt Calkins: Richard Sherman to apologize? What, did the sun just rise in the west?

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 10, 2019

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman  is introduced before a game against the Cleveland Browns in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (Ben Margot / AP)
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is introduced before a game against the Cleveland Browns in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (Ben Margot / AP)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – If you missed out on the last solar eclipse, don’t worry about it. If you’re pessimistic about seeing Halley’s comet, fret not. On Wednesday morning, something far rarer occurred – an instance that makes back-to-back holes-in-one look like an average day on the golf course.

Richard Sherman apologized.

Well, technically he said he planned on apologizing, but we’ll apply horseshoe rules and count it. After erroneously stating that Baker Mayfield refused to shake his hand during Monday night’s coin toss, Sherman told Pat McAfee in a radio interview that he will give the Browns quarterback a mea culpa.

This is most likely due to video evidence refuting Sherman’s initial claim of a Mayfield snub, but it still happened. The following words? Borderline historic.

“He definitely deserves an apology,” said the former Seahawks cornerback, who now plays for the 49ers. “That’s my bad on that.”

This, said Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, should be the biggest part of the “Handshake-gate” story. Only once had Wagner heard Sherman apologize, and it came about as privately as possible.

According to Wagner, the two were playing one-on-one basketball at Sherman’s house a few years back, and on game point Sherman not only fouled Wagner but tried to call an offensive foul on him, too. Wagner wasn’t having it, refused to give up possession, and said he won the game. An apology came after – but that was an isolated incident.

“The Sherm I know does not apologize,” Wagner said. “That’s growth as a person.”

You’d think the video proof would prompt an automatic “my bad” from Sherman, but history says otherwise. Three years ago, Sherman told local radio host Jim Moore that he would ruin his career after fielding questions from him he didn’t like.

Audio recording proved the interaction took place, but Sherman still denied it happened during an ESPN interview. It was as though Shaggy was his life coach.

That’s why this pending apology is so surprising to former teammates.

“I saw that and I was like, ‘Sherm?’ ” said Seahawks right tackle Germain Ifedi, adding that Sherman probably never meant any harm toward Mayfield in the first place. “That’s a big story.”

Remember, Sherman was the guy who had two blowups on the Seahawks sideline in 2016 – one aimed at then-defensive coordinator Kris Richard after a busted coverage, and the other aimed at coach Pete Carroll after Seattle attempted a pass play from its opponent’s 1.

He harped on the latter in the locker room after the game, essentially saying such a decision is what cost the Seahawks their second Super Bowl. No apologies, though. Not even close.

None of that really seems to bother his old Seahawks teammates when they look back on it, though. Sherman might not be the blueprint they’d use to teach their children contrition, but they generally found his antics harmless amid the franchise’s unprecedented success.

If Sherman needs motivation, he’ll find it. And if he can’t find it, he can just make something up.

“That’s classic Sherm … I love it,” said Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, adding that he doesn’t know why Sherman is apologizing. “If that’s what it took to get his team going, then hats off to him.”

The 49ers did beat the Browns 31-3 on Monday to improve to 4-0. And Sherman did have a first-quarter interception when his team led by seven. And just like it did in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl days, Richard’s smack-talk dominated the postvictory headlines.

But Wednesday morning brought something we’d never seen before.

Seattle tight end Luke Willson was with the team in its two most recent Super Bowl appearances, and is generally one of the Seahawks’ more candid players.

So Wednesday, I asked: Have you ever heard Sherman apologize before?

“Nooooo comment,” said Willson, as he headed toward the showers. “That’s my boy Richard Sherman.”

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