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Sherman gets a laugh out of challenges, insults

SEATTLE — Richard Sherman gave a vivid description of the scorching conditions last Sunday in San Diego, which he felt were largely responsible for the Seahawks’ subpar defensive performance.

“There’s no saving you from it when it’s hot like that,’’ he said. “It’s emanating from the ground. It’s surrounding you. The heat is enveloping you. It’s hard to get away from. You’re dumping ice water, whatever else you can find, on you, and it wasn’t helping.”

As for the heat Sherman was taking from Chargers receivers for supposedly “exposing” the cornerback in San Diego’s 30-21 win, well, Sherman pressed back as only he can, cool and composed.

“I thought that was pretty hilarious,’’ he said. “You know when a guy wants to get his name in the paper, he has to say something crazy.”

Heading into Seattle’s Super Bowl rematch with Denver on Sunday, Sherman is at the center of the intrigue. In other words, business as usual.

He’s the story when he’s not challenged, as was the case in the season-opening Packers game. He’s the story when he is challenged, as San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers did effectively at times.

Sherman is the story when he talks, which is most of the time, quite amiably and perceptively, and sometimes bombastically. And he’s the story when he doesn’t talk, as was the case after Sunday’s game — an outcome for which Sherman claimed innocence.

More on that in a second, but Sherman used his recent podium stop to answer some of the more inflammatory postgame comments. He did so in terms more expansive than his tweet on Sunday, which read, “Lmao Exposed? … Complete 3 passes 0 touchdowns 0 explosive passes … These guys make me laugh.”

There’s little doubt Sherman was referring primarily to Keenan Allen, who said of Sherman after the game, “He’s just a normal guy. We can go at him. … He’s not really a shutdown corner.”

Allen caught five passes for 55 yards. Eddie Royal caught seven for 69. Neither caught one longer than 16 yards. The bulk of the damage was done by tight end Antonio Gates, on the receiving end of three touchdown passes from Rivers.

“It’s fun to me,’’ Sherman said. “It’s really funny. Especially when you have little guys like the Chargers guys talking about how they exposed something. They had 60 and 50 yards. I mean, Gates — Hall of Famer — had a fantastic game, and Philip had a great game, and the rest of the guys … were there. But you see stuff like that, and it just makes you laugh.”

I’m not sure if people expected Sherman to pitch a seasonlong shutout. Every cornerback, even the elite ones, gives up yardage, and even touchdowns, at times. But Sherman has certainly brought some of the excess scrutiny on himself by being often provocative and occasionally self-promoting (albeit in an entertaining way).

The result is that every receiver wants to make his mark against Sherman. He was asked if he gets the sense that opponents sometimes would rather complete a few passes against him more than … and Sherman jumped in to complete the question.

“Than to win the game? Yeah, that’s what it looked like,’’ he said with a laugh. “That’s something he’ll tell his kids about. ‘Remember that one game I caught a few passes on Richard Sherman? I didn’t score, but I caught a few.’ ”

As for his exit without doing interviews on Sunday, Sherman said he was available at his locker, and waited to be approached. But when reporters went initially to Earl Thomas, he departed.

“I was literally standing in my locker,’’ he said. “Earl was being interviewed. When you come off the field in a 120-degree game, and the locker room is about 90, you’re probably not going to stand there for an extra hour waiting for everyone to get done doing interviews. I’m tired and I’m hot. I’m trying to get cool.”

As for Sunday, Sherman doesn’t expect the second round with Denver to be nearly as lopsided as 43-8.

“I don’t think the Super Bowl will be indicative of what this game will be,’’ he said. “I’m sure it will be a much better game.”

He noted that both teams have new players who weren’t even part of the Super Bowl. While the returning Broncos players have the obvious desire for revenge, “Winning is always the motivation in this league,’’ Sherman said. “They want to come and get a win. That’s the same motivation we have.”

The Seahawks feel they, too, have amends to make, specifically for some uncharacteristic breakdowns against San Diego.

“We’re really looking forward to it,’’ Sherman said. “That’s the hardest thing for guys that take a lot of pride in what they do and have a high standard: The lull in between games.”

It’s been a seven-month lull for the Broncos, so you can only imagine their impatience. And no matter what happens, Sherman will probably be right in the middle of the aftermath. Whether Peyton Manning challenges him or not.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) goes into pass coverage against the Green Bay Packers earlier this month. AP PHOTO