Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks takes the field for the 2014 NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

CB Richard Sherman

(On how much has this backlash added fuel to his fire…) “It is what it is. Things like that happen and you deal with the consequences of it, you deal with people’s opinions. I come from a place where it’s all adversity, so what’s a little bit more, what’s a little bit more of people telling you what you can’t do, what you’re not going to do, and what you’ve done. It’s always a little bit more of that, but its fine to me.”

(On if he's surprised of how much media attention his comments received…) “Yeah I ‘m really surprised by that. If I would’ve really known it was going to blow up like that I probably would’ve approached it differently just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates’ great games. Kam Chancellor played a fantastic football game. He had an interception and huge plays in the game and played almost a perfect ball game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 100 yards plus and had a great touchdown run. Bobby Wagner had 15 tackles, so many people played so many great games that you would think the stories would be about them. So that’s the only thing I feel kind of regretful about.”

(On what he was surprised more about the backlash of fans or support of fans…) “I think the backlash because I think the support came after the backlash. Everybody was surprised by it, I was a little surprised by it because we’re talking about football here and a lot of people took it a little further than football. I guess some people showed how far we have really come in this day and age. It was kind of profound kind of what happened with people’s opinions and things of that nature because I was on the football field showing passion. Maybe it was misdirected, maybe things may have been immature, things could have been worded better, but this was on a football field. I wasn’t committing any crimes or doing anything illegal. I was showing passion after a football game. I didn’t have time to sit there and contemplate about what I was going to say, but the people behind computer screens had all of the time in the world to contemplate everything that they wanted to say and articulate it exactly how they wanted to. Some of it, I’m sure they’re pretty embarrassed about.”

(On if his message to the kids in his hometown neighborhood will hold true since he's going to the Super Bowl…) “I hope so. I really hope it resonates a little more with them because there are no limits to what you can do. I think regardless of how bizarre my story gets at times, especially in times like this, it’s still remarkable how a kid from Compton, a kid from humble beginnings, and the story can resonate from any kid coming from humble beginnings. Whatever beginnings you come from just understand that your circumstances don’t dictate your future. Your circumstances don’t control your limits. You’re limitless, you’re a limitless person, you’re limitless by your faith, your abilities, your trust in yourself, your hard work, you can do as much as you want to do. If you go to school and get good grades and work as hard as you can, if you don’t have the materials, the school books, the things like that, people can help you with that. There will always be people out there that want to help kids like that, and I’m trying to help as many as I can. But to not go out there and work as hard as you can and give yourself the best possible chance to be successful you’re doing yourself a disservice. That’s really what I want the kids to know.”

(On if he can imagine what’s going to happen on media day in New Jersey…) “I really can’t, I really can’t. I imagine that it’s going to be fun, and I’ll embrace it, and I’ll have my teammates there and we’ll enjoy the moment. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for us, and we’ve worked hard to get here. Nothing was given to us, you have to earn your way here, so it will be well deserved for the whole team.”

(On the support he received from friends and family…) “There are countless individuals. Hank Aaron was one of them. There were countless players that reached out. Obviously family members and a lot of friends that who I haven’t talked to in a while reached out with support, and I appreciate all of it. You appreciate having great people in your corner and great coaches like David Shaw in your corner and people that really appreciate you as a human and really know who you are and what you stand for and aren’t as quick to judge because they really have an in depth view of who I am and what I’m about.

(On what's unique about Peyton Manning…) “It’s as if he’s an offensive coordinator out there. At any given time he can change any play, any protection, any scheme. Schematically you kind of notice what a team is going to do in the first couple of drives in a game. Teams don’t just change their offense in the second half and run totally different plays now. They may run a play that they have found successful multiple times, but with Peyton, he’ll find a weakness in a defense, he’ll attack it in four, five or six different ways. He’ll attack it with the curl, the dig, he’ll throw an out to Wes Welker, and they’ll attack the out and up. He finds so many different ways to attack you so once he finds a crack in the armor, he continues to nick at it until he makes it a hole.”

(On why he's able to take 'practice like you play' so well…) “Because we practice hard. We really practice as hard as we possibly can. We practice like it’s a game, and I really give Pete Carroll a lot of credit for that and also Earl  Thomas a lot of credit for the way our defensive backfield practices and our defense in general. he plays at such a high level that he’ll be so frustrated that you’re not playing at a high level because it’s messing up his look, because he doesn’t know where you’re going to be on game day. If you’re going to be trailing, and he’s running full speed to save you then be trailing so he can run full speed to save you. But if in a game you’re leading and he’s running full speed over there and wasting his time, it’s not a good look. So we practice so hard that we’ve had those plays in practice and in a game you don’t treat it any different. We go out there and execute what we’ve done in practice. That’s why moments like this, championship moments. NFC Championships, you get lost in them. You get lost in the game and you don’t realize you’re playing in the biggest game of your life, you just know that you’re trying to make plays. You’re trying to make sure they don’t score, you trying to do everything you can to make sure your team wins. If that’s tipping the ball to make sure that somebody has the plan to make a play, that’s what you’re doing, but that’s a testament to our practice habits.”

(On when he was watching film on Peyton Manning…) “The next morning. With Peyton you have to be on it quick because I know he was on it quick.”

(On how much is the defense looking forward to the challenge of facing a record setting quarterback…) “You would want that. We really embrace that man. As a defense we respect the heck out of Peyton Manning, but as a true competitor, as competitive as our team is, you wouldn’t want to have it any other way. You want the best of the best; otherwise you don’t feel like you’re getting the biggest challenge of your life. If you lose, you understand that you lost to the best quarterback in the world and you can accept that. If you win you understand that you were playing against the best quarterback in the world and it feels that much sweeter. It’s just a competitive drive in you. Like you said if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. So that’s the only way it can go.”

(On people dubbing this game the villains against the virtuous…) “That’s hilarious, that’s hilarious because anytime you label Russell Wilson a villain it has to be a joke.

(On Demaryius Thomas…) “He’s a great receiver, he’s had a fantastic year, he’s a big guy, he’s thick, and he goes up and gets the ball. I think he’s one of the top receivers in the game right now, and since Peyton has arrived, his game has elevated to another level and he’s playing some good football.”

(On the Broncos' versatility at the receiver position…) “I think that’s all attributed to what Peyton Manning is doing. He understand that defenses see looks and they see similarities and recognize formations and recognize personnel, and he keeps it mixed up. If you have a quarterback like that it’s hard to catch a break with him, catch a tendency or something that you can jump.”

(On the schematics of countering a bunch set…) “Well there are different ways that you can counter it. A lot of the times the middle linebacker will go bone speed is what they call it, which is pretty much he’ll look up the Wes Welker’s of the world or Demaryius Thomas’ just to combat that if we’re running man coverage. That’s what the Patriots did from time to time, that’s one of the ways you could do it or sometimes you just have to slip screen and fight. Sometimes it’s just a battle, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some, it’s a race, it’s a battle, that’s how football is. Man to man, that’s all man to man is. You go out there, they’re running a race route, and it’s a race route. You’re racing, their racing, you have to stay away from the pick and still make a play on the ball, this is football. So we’re just getting ready for it.”

(On if he had any private conversations with any of his teammates about his comments…) “No they’re just great teammates man. We’re a family and we’re really tight knit. A lot of people say that, a lot of teams say that, but I think it really holds true for our team. I love them and I appreciate them, and they would never say a bad thing about me even if it was true and even if they did feel that way. They’re just great fantastic players and great fantastic men and that’s why I love them. No we didn’t have any private conversations; it was just a feeling in my heart. You want to see guys get the glory that they deserve; you want to see the Kam Chancellor’s be labeled as one of the best safeties out there because he played like one of the best safeties out there. You want to see everybody get the recognition and the claim that they deserve, and they weren’t. That just makes you feel some type of way.”

(On if he will be able to break the 'Omaha' code…) “I feel like there is no ‘Omaha’ code.  I feel like he might just be throwing that out there. He throws it out there so much that it has to be talking to one player or something crazy like that. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to break the ‘Omaha’ code because we don’t get sound bites in the film. If we did I would try my best I’ll tell you that.”

(On if there are any regrets on him writing that Peyton Manning has a tendency to throw ducks…) “No. He still does it. I mean they’re accurate as ever, they’re accurate as ever. He throws spirals and they’re there, or he throws a wobbler, and it still gets there just the same. He really doesn’t care how he delivers the ball because it gets there just the same, accurately and on point. That’s what makes him a great quarterback. Sometimes he’ll catch the ball and he won’t catch it with the laces, and he’ll throw it without the laces and get it exactly where he wants to get it. He doesn’t care how it looks and the receivers don’t care because all of them have ten touchdowns right now, and everybody is getting what they deserve.”

(On how he defines sportsmanship…) “I think sportsmanship is just being a competitor, giving respect where it’s due. Going out there and giving everything you got every play, not breaking any rules. Not wanting to ill intent or to harm anyone on the field, things like that.”

(On if his comments and the negative comments will change the way he talks to the media…) “No. I really don’t know how to be anybody else. I can only be myself. I obviously learn from my mistakes and try to do it better, word situations like that better and be more mature about the situation and understand the moment, but you can’t be anybody else. I can’t make anything up now, it’s gotten us this far and it’ll be hard to make something up and be somebody else. I can only be myself.”

(On if there was ever a time where he tried to be different and it just didn’t feel right…) “I’ve tried it multiple times and it just cuts in my game. If I’m going to put my all into it, I’m going to put my all into it. Now if you catch me as I’m putting my all into it you may get something like what happened at the end of the game. I’m putting my all into this game. I put my sole focus, my passion, my energy, my everything. I’m at home watching film, I don’t get to talk to my family as much and they understand that because I’m putting everything into the game. So after the game with you putting everything out there and you’ve been victorious, it is what it is.”

(On the moment he gets into the zone…) “Yes. Soon as I get on the bus and ride to the stadium it’s all on. I’m in my zone. It’ll be hard for somebody to call me and have a conversation. I wouldn’t answer my phone, but once I flip the switch I sit right next to Earl Thomas in the same spot every game, and once I get in that seat, it’s game on.”

(On what he's learned about Muhammad Ali handling controversy…) “Well I think he handled by continuing to be himself. He handled it head on, he didn’t hide from it, and he didn’t run from it, he took it head on and he stood his ground, and his circumstances were incredibly high. What he had to deal with was a 100 times crazier than it is now. This is regular society and that’s one of the things that I feel like I may be missing out on. I feel like my game may be 20 years too late. Maybe I’ve watched those guys too much. Maybe I’ve studied the Muhammad Ali’s, the Deion Sanders’; the Michael Irvin’s the Jerry Rice’s. I studied the old school game more than I studied the new school game, and I play it that way. It rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Giving a true speech after a game, a true passionate speech is old school football. Playing press corner and sitting up there every pay is old school football. I guess maybe I just haven’t adjusted to the times.”

(On if he believes that his fans will be more sympathetic when some of the footage of him mic’d up comes out…) “I don’t know if they’ll ever give me any sympathy. They’ll understand that there wasn’t malice or anything when I was running up to him. Obviously it was bad timing I guess, but I knew that was the game, and after those games there weren’t a lot of handshakes. Like I said in the press conference there weren’t going to be a lot of handshakes. Most of the team got up and walked away and walked off of the field. I was going good game, I wouldn’t get a chance to say good game, the season was over, and I’m sure they’ll see that on tape.”

(On if he has ever had a teammate as dialed in for an entire year like Earl Thomas…) “Russell Wilson. Those two, but I have never seen anybody else like that. Kam Chancellor also is in the sphere, but you don’t meet people like that every day, and I think whenever you’re talking about a true competitor, a true champion, a true football player who is passionate and loves his job and does everything he can to help his team win, if you’re not talking about Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson, than I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

(On if what does it do for your team to have guys like Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson on each side of the ball…) “I think every day it gives you something to look at. It gives you an example every single day. There are times you come to work where you’re ready to go and fired up, and a lot of the times we’re pros, you’re there and you’re locked in. Then there is the off day, maybe things at home aren’t going well, something is knocking your day off, were human beings, and you look at Earl Thomas and he’s locked in, he’s going as hard as he can, and you’re like why wouldn’t I go as hard as I can. Why would I let a guy like that down? He’s giving me his all regardless of what’s going on at home. Russell Wilson is giving me everything he’s got regardless of what’s going on anywhere in his life. So you look at those guys and you really want to give him everything that you got. So I think it’s about as positive of any influence on a team that you can have.”

(On if he has any regrets on the choke sign at all…) “Nah man it’s Reggie Miller. These are rivalries right?”

(On if the Seahawks are portrayed as a villain, will the team will feed off of the negative label…) “Nah I don’t think we would accept that. We have too many great players who don’t deserve that label and who don’t deserve to be looked at in that light, and the Russell Wilson’s, the Earl Thomas’ and Kam Chancellor’s have done nothing to deserve that label. Now if they label me a villain, it’ll be what it is. Maybe my actions did accept whatever.”

(On if he believes he is a villain…) “No I don’t. I don’t think I’m a villain. I always say the old cliché, don’t judge a book by its cover, but they’re judging a book by its cover, they’re judging me off of the football field, on the football during a game, right after a game, and they’re not judging me off of who I am. Now if I had got arrested ten times, or committed all of these crimes, or got suspended for fighting off of the field and all of that, then I could accept being a villain, but I’ve done nothing villainous.”

(On if being labeled as a thug bothers him…) “The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N word nowadays. It’s like everyone else says the N word, and then they say thug and they’re like oh that’s fine. That’s where it kind of takes me back, and it’s kind of disappointing because they know. What’s the definition of a thug really? Can a guy on a football field just talking to people, maybe I’m talking loudly or doing something, talking like I’m not supposed to. There was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey, they just threw their sticks aside and started fighting. I saw that and said ah man I’m the thug. What’s going on here? Jeez. So I’m really disappointed in being called a thug.”

(On growing up in Compton…) “It really gave me a great base to understand that when you’re doing something, when you’re going out there and playing the game and doing that, that you didn’t come from anything. Where you came from not a lot of people eat every night.  People don’t eat every night, there is crime out there. Kids who are born into situations didn’t choose those lives, they didn’t choose that. So you really take every moment and every play and you understand that it has great magnitude and it means a lot, and you really take nothing for granted. You take no play, no blade of grass, nothing for granted, and you go out there and play with all of your heart.”

(On if hits a button for him when he’s called a thug, especially coming from where he’s from…) “It does sometimes because I know some thugs. They know I’m the furthest thing from a thug. Coming from where I’m from where I’m from I fought that my whole life. Just coming from where I’m come from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that you just think thug. He’s a gangster, he’s this that and the other, and then you hear Stanford and then they’re like that doesn’t even make sense. That’s an oxymoron. You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up, and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”