Richard Sherman wasn’t at the start of the Seahawks’ offseason workouts at team headquarters.
Which makes this high time to emphasize these workouts are voluntary.
A league source confirmed to me Sherman was absent as Seattle began conditioning and physical rehabilitation work at its team headquarters on Tuesday. It’s the first phase of the Seahawks’ offseason workouts that include rookie minicamps following next week’s draft, veteran organized team activities beginning May 30 and a minicamp for all in June. Only the last event, the minicamp June 13-15, is mandatory.
Albert Breer of si.com’s Monday Morning Quarterback reported Tuesday morning Sherman plans to report in early to mid May, before OTAs begin.
Did I already mention it’s voluntary?
It’s easy to jump to conclusions about Sherman, whose home is in Maple Valley, staying away from these team workouts down the road in Renton. That’s because of the context: all the trade talk the Seahawks have oddly, openly detailed this offseason about their three-time All-Pro cornerback.
But what Sherman is doing by staying away mirrors what teammates Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch and others have done before him. He is making whatever statement -- or at the minimum, avoiding whatever he can, while he can. As in, five months before the games get real. And before it would begin costing him money.
Teams can fine players who miss any mandatory offseason or preseason work, but not any defined as voluntary by the league’s collective bargaining agreement. OTAs that begin late next month are technically voluntary, though absolutely highly encouraged and expected by coaches and teams.
Sherman, 29, has two seasons and $22,431,000 remaining on the four-year, $56 million contract he signed in the spring of 2014. Whatever the upshot of all the weird trade talk and staying away from workouts in April, he can clearly see, for the first time, the end of his fantastic run in Seattle. The Seahawks can, too.
The Seahawks don’t have player availability to the media nor customarily disclose who is at mandatory, closed team workouts. They didn’t immediately respond to a request for confirmation that Sherman was or wasn’t there on Tuesday.