FOXBORO — There was plenty for Anthony Sherman to celebrate on his 31st birthday.
Being in New England, 10 minutes up Route One from North Attleboro, Sherman’s frosting on the cake was the Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC West Sunday, beating the Patriots, 23-16
“To come in here and beat a great football team, it’s good, it’s a morale booster for us,” Sherman said of the Chiefs’ ninth win of the season to improve to 6-1 on the road.
In his seventh season with the Chiefs and ninth season in the NFL, Sherman, who turns 31 on Wednesday, is a a two-time All Pro selection (2014, 2018) for the Kansas City specialty teams and a blocking back on offense.
This season, Sherman has touched the ball just six times on offense with four rushes for nine yards and two receptions for 22 yards as he has been on the field for 24 snaps.
“We’ve been a little up and down this year,” Sherman said. “We’ve started to hit the ‘more consistent’ button. “This is a good time of the season to start playing well, this is what you look for. One of our goals was to win the AFC West and we did that.”
Sherman was on the field for 13 specialty teams situations during the first half Sunday, including two PAT kicks and two field goals as the outside left blocker.
Sherman was also in for a dozen plays in the second half, including four at fullback in the final minute of the game protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs ran out the clock.
Sherman also got into a jawing session with the Patriots’ Elandon Roberts on Kansas City’s kickoff after the Chiefs had taken a 23-7 lead.
“I’m doing whatever I can do to get on the field and help the team win — I’ll do it,” Sherman said.
Sherman was one of the four Chiefs’ captains on the field for the pre-game coin toss, calling heads, winning the flip and electing to defer possession of the ball to the second half.
Fortunately for Sherman, he had his No. 42 jersey. A container filled with Kansas City game uniforms and equipment was inadvertently shipped to Newark, N.J., after not being taken off the Chiefs’ chartered flight into Boston on Friday.
“I think my helmet was in there,” Sherman said.
The container was hastily retrieved and arrived in Foxboro 90 minutes before game time.
Sherman never could have envisioned his NFL career lasting so long — 137 games, 109 with Kansas City — with five straight AFC (six overall) playoff appearances.
A 2007 graduate of North Attleboro High, Sherman captained the Rocketeer football, winter track and baseball teams with 1,202 rushing yards and 20 TD’s to go along with 100 tackles at linebacker. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2006.
Sherman remains the Big Red career rushing leader with 2,537 yards and 48 TDs.
True to his “townie” roots, one of the most memorable moments of Sherman’s career was scoring a TD for the Rocketeers as a freshman against Attleboro High in the Thanksgiving Day game – playing that season for North coach Paul Sullivan, then for current AD Kurt Kummer over the next three seasons.
And that’s not forgetting that Sherman ran the 55 dash at 6.98 seconds and the 100 dash at 12.19 seconds as a North trackman, also putting the shot. And in the spring he tended to duties in centerfield and generally batted out of the No.3 spot of the order for the North baseball team.
Only two NCAA Division I programs in New England actively recruited Sherman, Boston College and UConn. Sherman envisioned more chances to improve under Huskie coach Randy Edsall and more playing time in Storrs.
Sherman was a fifth-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals coming out of UConn and played two seasons there before his rights were traded to Kansas City.
Now with three children, the eldest of which is five years old, Sherman may stay closer to Kansas City, but is always in contact with his Rocketeer family of friends.
Against the Patriots, Sherman was in on the game-opening tackle of Brandon Boldin at the New England 17; played at the upback position ahead of the Chiefs’ primary kick returner as a blocker; and was a wedge blocker for Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker, who hit a 48, 31 and 41 yard field goals-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.
Renowned for his community service projects, Kansas City resigned Sherman for a one-year, $1.02 million pact in March.
The 5-foot-10, 242-pound Sherman (who turns 31 Wednesday) may not be a regular with the offensive unit, save for blocking, “we have so many weapons, they don’t dare give me the ball,” chuckled Sherman. “I’m the last choice.”
The Chiefs won their first four games of the season and have now won four of five outings. Consistency has been an issue. The Chiefs have outscored foes 134-57 during the second quarters of games, but been out-scored 94-65 during the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs rank 24th overall in the NFL in rushing offense (94.5 yards per game) and 25th overall defensively (372 yards allowed). Kansas City scored just three second half points against the Patriots, but held New England to 2-for-12 on third down situations and Tom Brady to 9-for-17 passing in the second half.
“This locker room is awesome, we all have the same mindset,” Sherman said. “We’re all having fun and I’m part of it. It’s nothing better than being around a bunch of guys who just want to win football games. We’ve got a lot of football ahead of us.
“I made that goal 10 years (in the NFL) in my head and I’m a year ago,” he added. “I made that goal not knowing I’d be here or be in the league and even play three years. I’m in the best situation for me, I’ve taken full advantage and continue to do what I do. I’m just trying to be reliable.”