The Seahawks should be hearing from the NFL anytime now on how the league is penalizing the team for not disclosing Richard Sherman’s knee injury until after the season.
The predictable news the NFL has started its investigation came early Tuesday.
This, a day after coach Pete Carroll revealed his Pro Bowl cornerback played the late part of the season, at least December and January it now appears, with an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his knee.
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"Honestly, I didn't realize we hadn't revealed it,” Carroll said Monday. “I don't even remember what game it was, it was somewhere in the middle ... I don't know.
“He was fine about it. He didn't miss anything. The same with Russell (Wilson and his sprained MCL, which the team did report), he was fine about it. I don't know how they do that, but they did."
Sherman’s knee injury never showed up on any of the team’s daily practice reports, nor on injury reports due to the league 48 hours before each game. Sherman routinely missed a practice each week over the last month-plus of the regular season and the postseason that ended with Saturday’s loss at Atlanta with what the team listed as “NIR.” That stands for “not injury related.”
Asked why Sherman’s injury never showed up on a practice report, Carroll said Monday in his season-ending press conference at team headquarters: "I don't know. I'm feeling like I screwed that up with not telling you that because that happened, but he was OK.
“So I don't know. He never missed anything, which is probably why."
So what’s the big deal now? Why is the league likely to fine the Seahawks even though Sherman did not miss a game?
Before the 2016 season began the NFL sent to each of its 32 teams a reminder of its policies on official injury reports. In it is this subsection for practice reports:
There are precedents for the league fining teams for not disclosing injuries, particularly to star players. In 2009 the NFL fined the New York Jets $125,000 for not reporting an injury to quarterback Brett Favre, for instance.
Carroll saying “my mistake” after the fact that Sherman was playing with a significant knee injury and dealing with the possibility of a sanction from the league is preferable to the Seahawks than opponents knowing Sherman was playing each week while potentially compromised. Foe’s game plans would have targeted that potential weakness with top wide receivers and pass plays. That potentially would have been more costly, in a pragmatic sense in wins and losses, than a possible fine or any other league rebuke.
Carroll met one more time with Sherman after the team returned from Atlanta early Sunday, and before the three-time All-Pro began his offseason. That was following a tumultuous December and January, when Sherman screamed at Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the sideline for play-calling decisions during the Dec. 15 win over the Los Angeles Rams, then threatened the career of a Seattle radio host and ended his weekly press conference he called his “privilege” to the media.
"I just wanted to make sure we left on really good terms,” Carroll said. “We talk a lot. I talk with him all the time. I just wanted to make sure to touch base one more time, because it was a difficult year for him.
“The media thing was a big deal and all that. He made it through it. It was hard."