Lions atwitter over Seahawk Richard Sherman's new handle
Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman Twitter handle motivates, upsets Detroit Lions.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The issue started with Richard Sherman's Twitter account and a Transformers reference.
It progressed to Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson finding a source of motivation, and then Lions teammate Dominic Raiola seeing a sign of disrespect. That's the short version of a kerfuffle so silly that you need a glossary to understand what's going on in preparation for Sunday's game in Detroit:
Megatron: That's Johnson's nickname, something bestowed upon him as a rookie in 2007 by fellow receiver Roy Williams, who marveled at the size of Johnson's hands. Megatron, for those who don't know, is the supreme leader of the Decepticons, a villainous faction of robots in the Transformers fictional universe.
Optimus Prime: He's the leader of the Autobots, the good guys in the Transformers. On Tuesday, Sherman changed his name on his Twitter account to this on Wednesday, an obvious reference to the matchup against Johnson in this weekend's game against Detroit.
Cue the melodrama.
"I can use it, definitely use it as motivation," Johnson said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "No doubt about it."
Johnson is 6 feet 5, and he led the league in receiving yardage last season as well as touchdown catches. His 15 scoring grabs were more than four NFL teams totaled in 2011.
He's leading the Lions with 38 catches so far — two more than he had after six games last season — but he has scored only once.
Sherman was asked Wednesday about the challenge of facing Johnson.
"Same challenge as every week," Sherman said.
"No different to me," Sherman said. "I don't care who's out there. It's the league, boy, they're going to have a good receiver out there every week — where it's Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald), Steve Smith, you've got Brandon Lloyd. No different."
Sherman has intercepted seven passes in 17 regular-season starts since he was drafted in the fifth round out of Stanford last year. He earned national attention after Seattle's victory over the Patriots when he tweeted a picture that amounted to a taunt of the Patriots' quarterback, who earlier in the game gestured toward the scoreboard and suggested Sherman come find him after the game.
Now comes the reference to Johnson's nickname.
"Self-given nickname," Johnson said. "Hey, if that's who he wants to be, that's cool."
Raiola, Detroit's center, was a little more outspoken.
"He's still young," Raiola said, according to the Free Press. "I don't know, whatever. That's how they are. That's how he is on the field. Who knows?"
Raiola concluded with a curse presumably directed at Sherman, demonstrating just how serious Transformer nicknames are taken in Detroit.
• DT Jason Jones (ankle) did not practice for the second consecutive day, casting doubt on his availability for Sunday's game. WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) has already been ruled out.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil