|Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson doesn't have a touchdown catch this season. (US Presswire)|
In addition to dealing with a tough Seahawks' defense, it appears that the player whose Megatron nickname is derived from a character in the Transformers toy and movie series will have to deal with his sci-fi arch-enemy, Optimus Prime.
Prime, better known as Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, made his presence felt on Twitter when he changed his profile to include the name of one of the few characters in the series who could match wits with Megatron.
Sherman's going to get the matchup he covets Sunday, and although Johnson has yet to score a touchdown this season, Lions C Dominic Raiola says Seattle's second-year defender may have made a mistake when antagonizing one of the game's elite receivers.
"I think for a guy like [Johnson], you'd wake him up [by challenging him]," Raiola said "You'd wake a monster up."
Waking Johnson up is something Sherman, who has seven interceptions in his two NFL seasons, might want to avoid. Johnson says he'll use Sherman's Twitter antics as motivation Sunday, and he also pointed out that instead of being given a nickname, Sherman chose to assign himself his new moniker
"A self-given nickname?" Johnson said, smiling. "That's who he wants to be? That's cool."
That response is typical of Johnson's persona, but don't mistake the humorous answer for indifference. Johnson has been eager to break his scoring drought, and the chance to silence a young, brash player could provide the perfect setting to do just that.
Johnson may be using levity to deal with the situation, but Raiola pointed out that Sherman's antics in this case aren't unique. Sherman has already taken shots at 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh -- who he called a “bully” -- and Patriots QB Tom Brady this season.
Raiola says those incidents, coupled with this latest episode, suggest that Sherman has a lack of respect for the game.
"[Sherman] took a shot at Brady, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play,” Raiola said. “He's taking shots at coaches, whatever, that's disrespectful to this game. Maybe he doesn't have a lot of respect. Who knows?"
As for how he felt about whether Sherman's transition from cornerback to Autobot will affect Detroit on Sunday, Raiola seemed to suggest that Sherman/Prime has a lot to learn about the game.
“He's a good player, but I don't know,” Raiola said. “He's still young. I don't know, whatever. That's how they are. That's how he is on the field. Who knows? Whatever. F--- him."