RENTON, Washington — A wide-brimmed hat was the only extra piece of attire for Richard Sherman.
No brace, not even a sleeve covering the left elbow he injured in last January's NFC Championship game.
"I'm out there naked. No, I'm not wearing anything," Sherman said on Tuesday after the Seattle Seahawks wrapped up their organized team activity. "I'm just (playing) ball. I try not to put it in too many stressful situations, but I pretty much control my game out there and stay out of bad spots."
Sherman initially believed he would need Tommy John surgery on the elbow that was injured in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game against Green Bay, but after speaking with other players and consulting with doctors he decided against the surgery for now.
The main reason? The amount of time needed to recover.
Sherman said he's been rehabbing most of the four months since the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss to New England, but he has been able to participate in the OTAs. Surgery could have sidelined him for up to nine months, Sherman said.
"I was relieved. I knew I would never have to throw a left-hand fastball so there was a chance I could avoid it," Sherman said. "I started taking opinions from different players and apparently a lot of O-linemen get the injury and they do just fine with it. I felt confident that I would be able to play without getting the surgery, just rehab."
In the Super Bowl, Sherman said he couldn't fully extend his left arm. He was part of a secondary that was battered by the end of the game, with Sherman, safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and cornerbacks Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon all either playing through injuries or having suffered injuries in the game.
"We didn't talk about it. It was just one of those things. You look up at the end of the game and you're like, 'Wow, we kind of battled through this,'" he said. "Obviously losing Jeremy in the first quarter, and he was having a phenomenal game, had an impact. It's never any excuses for us. We played as hard as we can. Unfortunately, they came out with the victory."
Sherman also had a response for recent comments from New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who criticized Sherman for only playing one side of the field. Cromartie told SiriusXM NFL Radio last week that Sherman cannot be considered the top cornerback in the NFL because he doesn't follow the other team's No. 1 receiver.
"Go follow the No. 1 receiver. Follow him around for a whole entire game and let's see what you can do," Cromartie said in the interview. "Darrelle Revis has done that his whole career. I've done that. Patrick Peterson has done it. Joe Haden has done it. (Sherman) is the only defensive back that hasn't."
Sherman called Cromartie's comments "unfortunate," then pointed out that Cromartie only made the Pro Bowl last year because the Seahawks were in the Super Bowl and Sherman had to withdraw.
"I think it's one of the things that's just the ignorance of the public. How many great left tackles do you see switching to the right side because there's a great d-end (switching) to the right side? You don't see it," Sherman said. "Great players stay on their side and do what they're supposed to do. How many guys have you seen switching from side to side on a No. 1 defense? We're the No. 1 defense for a reason."