INDIANAPOLIS No, Richard Sherman’s off-field distractions in 2016 of berating coaches on the sideline and his ongoing feud with the Seattle-area media are not affecting his place or future as a team fixture.
General manager John Schneider made that clear Wednesday on the first morning of the NFL’s annual scouting combine here at the Indiana Convention Center.
“No. He’s an elite player,” Schneider said of Sherman’s, um, eventful 2016 season. “I mean, you know, I think everybody has bad days. Congratulations if you don’t.
“But, no, we love him. He’s an elite player.”
This week Sherman went on ESPN and disputed what The News Tribune and every other local outlet recorded him threatening to ruin the career of a Seattle radio reporter in December, when Jim Moore questioned what authority Sherman thought he had to yell at offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and coach Pete Carroll for the offense’s play calls at the goal line during a home win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“Nobody knew what I said,” Sherman told ESPN, referring to what he said to Moore as the three-time All-Pro cornerback was exiting one of his weekly press conferences following that Rams game. “Once again, ‘sources say.’ Who was there? Did anybody see it? Who was there? Who said it?”
Asked directly on camera by ESPN’s Cari Champion whether the quote was not correct, Sherman said, “Nobody knows. Nobody knows what was correct. All you hear is, ‘He said, she said.’”
It’s clear from Schneider’s comments Wednesday the Seahawks consider Sherman’s sideshows like they did running back and now-retired franchise cornerstone Marshawn Lynch’s through the 2015 season, like they do Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett: Collateral noise far apart from his undeniable value as a top player among the best in the league at his position. If he is at odds with the media or says whatever, so be it, as long as he continues to produce at a high level on the field.
After Sherman’s tumultuous season ended with the Seahawks’ playoff loss at Atlanta on Jan. 14, Carroll said Sherman played through a “significant” sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee. Problem with the league was, the Seahawks never put that injury on a practice or injury report, as NFL rules require.
The league investigated but decided last month not to punish the team.
“We didn’t feel like we did anything wrong,” Schneider said, praising his football and medical-training staffs for the argument they put together for presentation to the league stating the team’s case.
That case included notes from the team doctor and practice films so the NFL could see what drill time Sherman did and did not miss.
“Really, it comes down to evaluating the player and not the MRI. The MRIs are tools,” the GM said. “The guy, I mean, he missed one play, or whatever. He came back. We weren’t doing anything malicious. ... He was going to get his rest, like Michael (and other Seahawks veterans).”
One upshot for the league could be a change to the wording of the league’s injury-reporting policy to either more clearly define or drop the term “significant or noteworthy injury” the Seahawks see as somewhat subjective.
But “significant” is the word Carroll used to describe Sherman’s knee injury when he revealed it Jan. 16, two days after Seattle’s season ended with the playoff loss at Atlanta.
Whatever. The Seahawks won that one with the league. They didn’t get a high-round pick taken from them in April’s draft, as had been rumored.
Seattle has seven picks in this draft. Five are among the first 106 selections.