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Betting On Yourself Is Essential For Your Success. Richard Sherman Says Why



Richard Sherman had a little fun this week. 

“I keep all the receipts.”

For those of you who don’t know, Sherman is a three-time All-Pro, five-time Pro-Bowler, and was recently named the best cornerback of the decade by Pro Football Focus. A Super Bowl Champion and a notorious trash-talker, he took the NFL world by storm in the early 2010s with his high-level defensive play and brash persona. For a time, he was widely considered the best cornerback in football, swatting passes and demoralizing opposing quarterbacks with his ball-hawking skills for the Seattle Seahawks.


During the 2017 season, Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon, forcing him out for the rest of the year. His longtime team cut him shortly after that. Then, he did the unthinkable. 

One day later, Sherman, with the help of his wife, signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He chose to decline the aid of an agent, constructing his deal on his own, for which he faced unprecedented scrutinization from sports analysts, front office executives, and even fellow NFL athletes. Here are the details of the deal:

  • Three years, $39 million
  • Only $3 million guaranteed (guaranteed money is a coveted contract component in the NFL)
  • Incentive-based contract, meaning performance dictates the value
  • Altogether, without incentives, a one-year, $7 million deal

After hearing it from practically almost every professional covering pro football, one year later, Richard Sherman has cashed in on nearly every incentive built into his contract and re-solidified himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the National Football League. Here’s a look at his accomplishments this year and their implications to his contract:

  • Second Team All-Pro Honors, Pro-Bowl Honors
  • Triggered $5 million incentive bonus 

To celebrate, he had a little bit of fun on Twitter, reminiscing over some of the negative tweets about his contract construction choices made by fans and NFL analysts. Here is his response to NFL analyst and former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas’s remarks regarding the deal (Warning: tweet replies may be NSFW).


  • Bet on yourself and your capabilities 
  • Understand the value of not only yourself but your ideas
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Sherman was named Pro Football Focus’s Cornerback of the Decade. John Hefti/AP

Bet on yourself and your capabilities. Richard Sherman was willing to withstand the noise and able cash in on a big payday, despite his entire professional community scrutinizing him for it. In business, one of the most significant obstacles we face is the fear of what others will say about our ideas. The ability to go against the grain and take a leap of faith is difficult but can pay off tremendously, as it did for Sherman.

Lastly, understand your value and the value of your ideas. Sherman sure did, and here’s what he had to say on the subject:

“It’s a case of believing who I am as a player while also coming [off] of a major injury; A tale of players knowing their abilities and believing in themselves. More [and more] players have incentives that can’t be achieved, and are negotiated by agents.” 

-Richard Sherman

Believing in our ideas is paramount, and Sherman’s battle with the norms of contract construction in the NFL is parallel to the obstacles not only professional athletes face but aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs as well. Let’s take his words and implement them into our lives as best as we can, together.

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