Why did you elect not to have Tommy John elbow surgery in the offseason?
Richard Sherman: I mean, I knew I wouldn’t have to throw a left-hand fastball, so I thought there was a chance I could avoid it. The timeline on the surgery, I think, was nine months or something like that, and I wasn’t going to be out of ball for nine months just to be able to throw a 99 mph fastball. The more opinions you get, everybody differs on what they would do. I started taking opinions from different players, and apparently a lot of O-linemen get the injury and they do just fine with it. So I felt confident that I would be able to play without getting the surgery, and just rehabbing. But I’m not comfortable giving up the dream of throwing a 99 mph left-hand fastball.
How is your elbow now, and do you have the same range of motion and strength in the arm as you did before the injury?
Sherman: It’s doing a lot better. Obviously, scar tissue is still there, but my mobility is there. I have a lot more strength in my extension than I had at the end of last season. It just comes down to time to get the scar tissue more flexible than it was. I didn’t really shut it down. Just did rehab work, weights, massages, lasers -- all these different treatments they have these days. I try not to put it in too many stressful positions. I’m still catching up. Hopefully [by the start of the regular season], I’ll be limitless.
How do you feel this team will react to the disappointment of the shocking ending to the Super Bowl and the loss to the Patriots?
Sherman: It’s the same way we recovered from the Super Bowl win the year before. You wash it off and have a clean slate. When you win, it doesn’t give you anything going to the next year, and when you lose it doesn’t take anything away from the next year. You get back to the grindstone. It was an emotional last couple of games. It’s football. What happened last year isn’t going to win or lose us any games this year, the same as winning the Super Bowl didn’t last year. I think everybody who has played the game has had a game like [the Super Bowl loss]. It’s part of what we do. You understand that you win some and you lose some. I don’t know how everybody else dealt with it. I think every person has their own unique way of doing things. You just go on about your day and understand the things you could have done to win the game. There are no excuses. Whether we were healthy or not, we lost. We accept that and move on. Overcoming adversity is what helped all of us get to where we are today.
The secondary is a banged-up group entering the season, and you lost Byron Maxwell in free agency. Do you still expect the Legion of Boom to live up to its reputation?
Sherman: Yes. Every year you grow wiser in the game and more mature. These last few years, we’ve played a lot of games. It’s tops in the league. It wears on your body and you’re going to have injuries. But nobody is going to miss a substantial amount of the  season. We’ll be able to go back healthier and wiser. Kam Chancellor [who had a torn MCL and was back full speed at OTAs and minicamp] is a machine. I’m waiting for somebody to cut him open and study him and see what he’s made of because they don’t make ‘em like him. I’ve always said he recovers as fast as anybody. That’s just who he is. He’s a punisher. His style of play will leave a lot of people hurt if they hit people like that on a consistent basis, but he recovers from that quickly. His presence is felt and needed and so is Earl [Thomas, who had offseason shoulder surgery]. I know he’s chomping at the bit. He’ll be out there as quickly as he can. Obviously, it’s tough to lose Byron. But we got a playmaker [in free-agent signee Cary Williams] and somebody who has championship experience and has played well in big games. He comes in with a humble heart and is learning our scheme and technique. He understands our concept of team defense.
This has been the No. 1 scoring defense in each of the past three seasons. What’s the biggest reason for that? And is that a realistic expectation again this year?
Sherman: Yes, because it’s all about effort and attitude. And our guys also are the most prepared in football. It really comes down to how hard a guy is going to run to the football, play-in and play-out. Are you going to throw your body in there? We have the athletes, like linebackers that can drop into coverage and have the ability to break on a quarterback’s intentions. People can say they’ve studied our scheme and are adapting our scheme, but you can’t adapt to our mentality, our mindset, our intelligence, our football IQ. All those things matter, and it allows our defense to play fast.