Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman fashioned himself a new nickname this week. Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson isn't buying it.
In 2011, the Lions went from bad to good, but since then, Michael Lombardi writes, they've failed to take the next step. **More ...**
Sherman tweaked his Twitter handle to label himself "Optimus Prime," a nod to Johnson's "Megatron." The Seattle defender believes he has the goods to shut down the All-Pro receiver when their teams meet Sunday.
Johnson doesn't appear rattled.
"Self-given nickname -- if that's who he wants to be, that's cool," Johnson told the Lions' official website Thursday. "I can use it as motivation, no doubt about it."
Johnson was back at practice after missing Wednesday's session. He suffered a knee injury against the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football," but he's in line to play this weekend. After catching 16 touchdown passes a year ago, the "Madden" cover boy has only one this season.
Sherman, meanwhile, has voyaged from relative obscurity to notoriety in just a few weeks. He trash-talked Tom Brady after the Seahawks knocked off the New England Patriots. Then he described San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh as a "bully." Now he has assumed the identity of a "Transformers" hero-bot.
From the cartoon's heavily trafficked Wiki page: "Optimus Prime is the awe-inspiring leader of the Autobot forces. Selfless and endlessly courageous, he is the complete opposite of his mortal enemy Megatron. Originally a mere civilian, he was chosen by the Matrix to command, the first in a number of heavy burdens he has been forced to bear. Another is his bringing of the Transformers' conflict to Earth."
And we thought this was about a football game.