Maxwell: ‘I take it as earning my keep’

Hawks vs Packers MaxwellByron Maxwell says he is just “earning my keep” as the cornerback who gets targeted most while playing opposite Richard Sherman.

In the season opener, Sherman was avoided by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who instead threw it Maxwell’s way all game. He didn’t have too much more success as Maxwell shut down the big plays and ended up with an interception — making Rodgers and the Packers pay for picking on him all game.

But Maxwell is not offended by all of that action. He knows Sherman has proven himself as perhaps the best corner in the game, so it follows that teams will look Maxwell’s way more often.

“I take it as earning my keep,” he told 710 ESPN.

He reminded everyone that Sherman has 16 interceptions over the past two seasons.

“He’s earned that respect,” Maxwell said. “I feel like I’ve got to earn that respect in this league for them not to come at me. I’ve got to prove that. So keep coming at me.”

Maxwell already has the respect of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who has said he will not steer away from Sherman on Sunday — partly because Maxwell is proving he will make teams pay.

I just don’t believe you can completely eliminate a side of the field,” Rivers told Seattle reporters this week. “From my standpoint, from a passer’s point of view… I think it’s hard to do that — to just play on one side and be real successful.

“I say that too out of respect because I think Maxwell is a hell of a corner,” the quarterback added. “He just gets the ball because of the action. You’re bound to get a few completions over there, but it’s not like you’re going to start (avoiding) one side and the guy isn’t going to be good on the other. If you watch No. 41 (Maxwell), you would say, ‘Shoot, that guy is a good corner.'”

Sherman made the point to Maxwell that he is on pace for 16 interceptions. Sound crazy? Not when you realize that Maxwell actually has recorded five interceptions in his last five regular-season games.

As we wrote earlier this week, Maxwell is setting himself up for a nice contract after this season — either with Seattle or with someone else.

In the meantime, though, he is earning his keep opposite Sherman.

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