NFL cornerback Richard Sherman takes his game very seriously. When he’s not on the soccer field, deconstructing crime and keeping wiretapping, the San Francisco 49er has been known to decompress with a little call of duty.
“Playing video games scratches my competitive itch while also allowing me to rest my body,” says Sherman Men’s journal. The five-time all-pro has even attended charity streaming events on Twitch and teamed up with other NFL players like Darius Slay. “There are similar feelings that come from these competitions – the release of serotonin after a great game and the feeling of camaraderie with your teammates.”
Sherman’s lifelong passion for gaming made him perfect for Zero In, a new mini-doc series from LG OLED and Ubisoft’s recently released Assassin’s Creed Vahalla. Sherman’s episode gives a glimpse into his fitness regime and shows off his innovative gaming setup. The footballer treats the controller like a professional.
We spoke with the future Hall of Famer about his no-frills approach to training, playing with teammates, and how it affects his recovery.
Have you always been a great player?
I’ve played video games all my life. I remember kicking it with the original Nintendo and playing games like Temco Bowl and Zelda, and it just evolved from then on. I play a lot of Call of Duty these days as well as a few different sports games, mostly basketball. I really enjoyed trying out the new Assassin’s Creed game. It’s cool to have so many different outcomes and adventures depending on the choices you make.
There is no doubt that you are working hard. Does your game play a role in your recovery?
I will get some of my recovery in the gaming chair, no question about it. If I have the opportunity to multitask, I will. I sometimes play with a piece of Game Ready or some NormaTec compression technology. I’ll play a little when we’re training and in the season, during my downtime. It’s nice to let my hair fall and let go of the stress of the day. Obviously I won’t work hard if I’ve had a long day at camp or anything, but our rest day is usually Tuesday and that’s when I get most of my games. I can play for four or five hours during an extended session.
Any snacks on hand?
The healthy snacks have to be there, of course, but for me it’s all about starburst and gushers. I have to have this when I’m in the mood.
What elements take your gaming experience to the next level?
My gaming chair is from Clutch and is very comfortable. This is important. The new OLED 4K TV from LG has not only improved the low latency and fast response time, but also the colors considerably. You are just crazy.
How does your play on the field compare to that at home?
My competitive spirit is expressed in everything I do. Gaming is no exception. I want to do everything that I am good at. I can’t turn this part off. It’s in my nature. I want to win at everything and be great at everything. There are elements in the shooter games that I can draw similarities with: you communicate and unite around a common goal, evaluate your surroundings, and make quick decisions and movements.
Do you play with someone from your team or the rest of the league?
I play with a few guys from the league. I played with some of my team-mates the other day. Jimmy [Garoppolo] plays a little [George] Kittle is pretty good and I play some with Mike Davis of the Carolina Panthers and Preston Smith of Green Bay. Adrian Colbert from the Giants turned out really well. Neither of us are professionals as you can imagine. We were smart enough to find a few pro players who can help us.
Who are some of these professional players?
I’m on Luminosity, so I occasionally snap up matches with a guy on our list called “Slacked” who is known to do some crazy things in Call of Duty. I’ve changed my minds as much as I thought possible in the game. What really keeps you going when it comes to playing shooters or games of skill is seeing someone pull out something ridiculous and want to do it themselves.
Does the trash talk ever relate to the season or does the field ever bleed into the virtual world?
No, that never actually happens. I think we all understand at this level.
Is there anyone in the league that you pay special attention to as you prepare for a game and study band?
Everyone I face deserves my full effort. I treat them all equally – with an enormous amount of respect and appreciation. They are all superstar players. As someone who’s been in the league for about a decade, I know anyone can show up when their time comes. So if you let your focus drop, everyone has a chance to beat you or catch you on the field.
Has your training changed at all over the years? What kept you at the top for so long?
I have to say, I’m just doing what I’ve always done. I take care of my body – eat right, sleep right, go out and grind. There really is no secret formula for success. It’s hard work, commitment, perseverance. I don’t have a cook. I’m not looking for cheats. I stay away from red meat, most carbohydrates, and processed foods. I don’t believe in a new school way of complicating things. I know people who spend too much time reading data and not enough time to be great. I find people who spend too much money and effort looking for abbreviations are usually not great.
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