Richard Sherman thinks it’s dirty of the NFL to have its guys play on a Thursday following a Sunday game.
Truly yucky, nasty, inside-of-diapers dirty of the league, in fact.
An “absolute poopfest.”
That’s what the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback called it on Tuesday. But that’s not really what Sherman wanted to say two days after his team lost at Green Bay — and two days before Seattle (8-4-1) kicks off again, at home against the Los Angeles Rams (4-9).
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“I didn’t want to curse,” Sherman said. “I know Mom is listening.
“It’s freakin’ terrible. We played, freakin’ got home at like 1 in the morning, something like that, on Monday. Then we’ve got to play again. I mean ...”
Sherman shook his head and lowered his voice tone to deadpan.
“Congratulations, NFL. You did it again. But they’ve been doing it all season (with weekly Thursday-night games). I guess we’re the last ones to get the middle finger.”
Across the Seahawks’ locker room since the loss at Green Bay on Sunday night, the consensus is we will see slower, sorer and in fact dangerously battered players competing when the Rams and Seahawks entertain us and a national television audience on NBC Thursday.
The reason the league is doing this is, of course, money.
You can still hear the cash register ringing from the jackpot deal the league struck this past offseason with NBC and CBS: a reported $900 million combined from the two networks to broadcast Thursday night games in the 2016 and ’17 seasons. That Rams playing at the Seahawks on Thursday is netting the NFL $45 million. For one game.
That doesn’t count the additional $10 million this season the league is getting from Twitter for the social media outlet’s exclusive rights to stream Thursday night games online.
“It’s just no regard,” Sherman said. “It’s hypocritical, as I’ve stated before. You know, they make this huge stance about player safety. Then you put the players in tremendous danger.
“Your body is going to recover how it recovers every other week. You can’t speed it up any more than you normally would. You’ve just got to deal with it. It’s just one of those things. Part of the job.
“Players know. But everybody’s banged up, everybody is moving slower, so it’s not really going to show to the naked eye,” Sherman said.
How recovered will his body will be by Thursday’s 5:25 p.m. kickoff at CenturyLink Field?
“As recovered at it would be any other Thursday,” he said. “You know, probably 50, 60 percent.”
Down the same row of lockers to Sherman’s left in Seahawks headquarters, Cliff Avril is moving a little more slowly.
The day after he played 45 snaps, he sighed when asked about the virtue of these Thursday games.
“Physically, it’s terrible,” Avril said. “The league claims they care about player safety.”
He shook his head.
Will he be fully recovered physically from the Green Bay game to play the Rams?
“No,” he laughed. “I’m 30 years old!”
The Seahawks began what is usually their day-after or Tuesday recovery steps during the team’s plane home from Wisconsin late Sunday night. Avril said he iced both knees from his seat. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin had an electric-stimulation machine attached to his pained points.
Baldwin said when the team bus from SeaTac Airport returned to Seahawks headquarters after midnight early Monday morning, many players went straight inside to the hot whirlpool and cold tubs or got on the floor of the locker room and smashed their strained or bruised muscles, or even those with just normal lactic-acid buildup, on foam rollers.
Treatment at 1 a.m. early Monday, instead of going home to, you know, sleep as they do immediately upon returning home from any other road game.
By Thursday, will Baldwin be recovered?
“Probably not,” he said.
“Typically, it takes me until about Thursday to start feeling about right. So with this being such a short week and us not having the time off like we would on a Tuesday, it will take more to get to that point.”
All are trying to accelerate a healing process from an NFL game, what most liken to being an 80-play car wreck. Baldwin said his body will just be feeling normal again — just in time to go back for another car wreck.
Is this a farce, Thursdays?
“I think it is unhealthy, unhealthy for the players. But I don’t make those decisions.”
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner got up a couple hours after returning home Monday morning and did yoga. Maybe that put him in a more Zen-like frame of mind regarding this unhealthy turnaround.
“It’s all mental in my opinion,” he said. “However strong my mind is is however strong my body will be.”
Some point out it’s a plus on the backside for teams that play Thursday night, because of the 10 days typically between that game and the following one. The Seahawks will have nine days after the Rams game, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday off this weekend, before they host Arizona on Christmas Eve.
“Yeah, that’s definitely a plus,” Baldwin said with a chuckle, “but hopefully you make it to those 10 days.”
There’s one other, equalizing factor for the Seahawks in their short turnaround this week.
“The good thing is everyone is hurtin’ (including the Rams, who got smacked 42-14 by Atlanta on Sunday),” Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett said. “So it’s fair.”
Apparently, the league realizes this all might not be such a grand idea. Pro Football Talk reported last month, citing a source, that the league “will take a close look” at the Thursday night package.
“Options include (but aren’t limited to) getting rid of Thursday games completely and possibly starting the package at Thanksgiving and continuing it through the end of the season...,” PFT wrote.
Each of the NFL’s 32 teams plays once on Thursday night during the 17 weeks of the regular season.
Sherman is the Seahawks’ representative to the NFL players’ union and is a member of the NFL Players’ Association’s executive council.
Does the union see a possibility of Thursday night games going away before the current collective bargaining agreement ends in 2020?
“They do not. They do not. But we will be well aware come the next CBA negotiations about things like this,” Sherman said. “There’s really not much you can do right now. It’s part of the revenue, etc. etc. And I’m sure it has probably something else up its sleeve.
“They might have a Friday night game planned. Who knows?”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle
Seahawks’ next opponent
LOS ANGELES RAMS (4-9)
5:25 p.m. Thursday, CenturyLink Field
Against the Seahawks: The Rams have won three in a row and four of the past five meetings. That includes a 9-3 win Sept. 18 at Los Angeles. They trail the regular-season series, 21-14. The Rams won the last meeting in Seattle, 23-17, on Dec. 27, 2015. This is the first time the Los Angeles version of the Rams have played in Seattle since Dec. 22, 1991. The Rams lost, 23-9, in the Kingdome.
Line: Seahawks by 15.
What to know: The Rams have a coach who will be in his first game as the head man, a rookie quarterback, a four-game losing streak and an up-in-the-air future for the entire franchise. Other than that, it’s all sunny for LA. … The Rams fired Jeff Fisher as their coach on Monday three games short of his fifth season leading the team. That was one day after Los Angeles lost its fourth in a row, 42-14 at home to Atlanta. That game started 42-0. … Special-teams coach John Fassel got promoted to Fisher’s job. He gets two full days to prepare the entire team for this game. … No. 1-overall draft pick Jared Goff from the University of California is finally starting for the Rams after watching Case Keenum the first nine games. People everywhere, even outside L.A., wanted Goff in there months ago. He is completing 55 percent of his passes with four touchdowns, five interceptions and a low passer rating of 65.8. The Rams have lost all four of his starts and are averaging 13.8 points per game with him. … LA is last in the NFL in total offense (286 yards per game), last in points (14.9), 30th in rushing (81 yards per game) and 29th in passing (205.1). The Rams are last in the NFC and 30th in the NFL in turnover margin, minus-11. … The Rams lost three fumbles and had five turnovers last weekend, which is why the Falcons blew them out of the L.A. Coliseum. … Todd Gurley was the NFL’s rookie of the year in 2015 with 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has 740 yards and five scores through 13 games. … Kenny Britt is the Rams’ leading receiver with 63 catches and five touchdowns. The Rams have loved to use wide receiver Tavon Austin on fly sweeps and reverses against the Seahawks in the past. In six career games against Seattle, Austin has 16 rushes, a higher average of rushes per game than against any other team. … The Rams’ defensive front has consistently overwhelmed Seattle’s offensive line in recent seasons. Aaron Donald has 27 sacks in less than three full seasons in the league, and is again among the best sackers among defensive tackles. He leads the Rams with seven. … Los Angeles is 10th in the league in total defense, 20th against the run and ninth against the pass.
Quotable: “Yeah, it’s been a little crazy. It kind of surprised a lot of us, kind of had to adjust, move on with the day and get through practice. It was weird. And (Tuesday) has been a little bit different as well. We’re trying to keep it as business as possible and try to get ready for Thursday.” — Goff on Fisher getting fired Monday to start the Rams’ shortest game week of the season.
Gregg Bell: firstname.lastname@example.org