RENTON For those wanting Richard Sherman to apologize for berating his coaches, you got that. Sort of.
For those wondering how accurate the ESPN story from last month was that detailed locker-room strife described by unnamed sources on the team, Sherman says it was baseless “clickbait” with an unnecessarily “controversial, nonsense angle.”
For those wanting to know if the three-time All-Pro cornerback wanted traded out of Seattle, Sherman said, no, “we” did not ask for a trade -- and that such trade talks with the Seahawks “happens every year,” but just got known this time.
How about those wanting more on the juicy idea Sherman resents/can’t stand/blows up routinely at quarterback Russell Wilson? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place and wrong guy, Sherman said.
And for those wondering about Sherman’s status with the Seahawks and his future with the franchise, the 29-year-old star said he wants to play for Seattle for the rest of his career.
“I would definitely like to retire a Seahawk and finish my career here,” Sherman said, responding to my question whether he would on Wednesday following the second practice of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp.
“You know, we've...started something special and I think it would be best to end something special here. I think this is a great city. This is a city that I would like to raise my kids in. The people here are much more polite than the people in L.A.--and I'm from L.A., so that's saying a lot.
“I think that it would be a great place to raise kids and to continue my career.”
It was the exact opposite of the Sherman-trade-talk narrative.
It was Sherman saying he has a “brand-new, old attitude. It’s like I’m taking it back...like (when) I was a cold dude. I’m getting back to my ways.”
It was the first time he’s spoken so extensively -- also like old times -- to Seattle’s media at large in a press conference since mid December.
And, yes, a thing or three has happened with and been said about him in the last six months.
After Sherman’s tumultuous 2016, this offseason Seahawks general manager John Schneider confirmed unsubstantiated reports the team was listening to trade offers for one of Seattle’s franchise pillars since 2012. The GM said that window of listening essentially closed in early May when the draft ended without another team meeting the Seahawks’ steep price of a first-round pick and presumably multiple top choices, plus more.
"It's just a conversation they have every year. I guess this year, more people knew about it,” Sherman said. “It's a conversation they have every year -- everybody's open, everybody's available. They just made sure I knew, and you guys found out. Pretty open about it.
“It was never a situation where anybody asked for it. It was just a conversation.”
So you didn’t ask for a trade?
“We didn't. We didn't,” Sherman replied, cryptically given he isn’t know to have an agent in the wake of his previous representative, Ben Dogra, getting fired by his agency in 2014. “We just had conversations about it. It is what it is. Great conversations, great dialogue. We were transparent. Nobody's worried about it."
Sherman said he was OK with the trade talk.
“I didn't mind,” he said. “You know, this is a business. Football is always a business. You understand that from the day you get in it. You don't have much choice in the matter. You just gotta live your life. Don't worry about it.”
Why would the Seahawks, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2011 and made him a starter in year one, think of trading one of the best players at one of the most difficult positions to play in the game?
"Because they are always open to possibilities, to hear what people's got to say,” Sherman said. “If somebody comes with two first-rounders I wouldn't blame them in the least, you know?”
He chuckled at that.
“I wouldn't blame them, at all. It'd be another crazy trade -- who was it that got traded like that, Herschel Walker or something like that?” Sherman said.
“But it's just conversation. I think we have a fantastic relationship, and always have. And it's always been transparent to have those communications and not have them in a, in a rude or discourteous way, but just professionally.”
One of the many claims in Seth Wickersham’s May 25 story on ESPN.com was that Sherman and the defense don’t like Wilson and believe he gets preferential treatment by the Seahawks.
Sherman said his relationship is the opposite of that portrayal.
“It’s fantastic. It’s fantastic,” he said. “We’re teammates. It’s like a family. It’s like everyone else in a family. We fight for one another, just like I’m fighting for the other 52 guys out there, I’m fighting for him and he’s fighting for us. We have a great appreciation for how tough our quarterback is and what he has played through. Last year he played through a number of injuries and he’s not doing that just because ‘Ah man, I’ve got to go out there and it’s a job.’ He’s doing that for the guys next to him. And we appreciate that. And we think he is a great quarterback.
“But it doesn’t matter what we say. It doesn’t matter what we say at the end of the day, because we could say that until the cows come home, but one guy says he has a story and he’s heard a rumor about this, about somebody down the way saying something, and that is the truth.”
A few minutes later, teammate Michael Bennett called Wilson “the perfect quarterback for the Seahawks, a perfect leader.”
Sherman’s answer to whether he believes Wilson gets treated differently than the rest of the team was, of course he does.
“Just a made up story, because you could literally say that about any team, any quarterback,” Sherman said. “You could say ‘Well, the Patriots probably think Tom Brady gets treated differently than everybody else.’”
At that point, Bennett walked by and said of Brady: “He does.”
“But it would be a legitimate claim. You could make a legitimate claim,” Sherman said of NFL QB’s getting treated differently. “You could make this exact same story out of just about any of the teams in the playoffs, and a couple that weren’t in the playoffs last year. Any competitive team that has a great offense and great defense, Super Bowl teams, Atlanta and New England freaking Green Bay, I guarantee you, you go to a practice in the middle of training camp and mic’d everybody up you wouldn’t be able to produce that story, you wouldn’t be able to produce that dialogue, you would never be able to produce that audio (because of inappropriate language). Because that’s what it takes.”
One of Wickersham’s first scenes in his story is of Sherman berating Wilson during a 2014 practice yelling, “You ------- suck!”
“We play a violent, adrenaline-infused game that takes everything you’ve got and in order to play it at a high level. You’ve got to give everything you’ve got,” Sherman said. “To catch us on the field and try to make a story out of some nonsense like that is laughable. But it’s also the unfortunate time that we are in, I guess.”
Coach Pete Carroll has said since last season that "Richard went through a lot last year, and most of it self-inflicted.”
Sherman shouted at defensive coordinator Kris Richard after a coverage foul-up during an October win over Atlanta. He shouted on the same Seahawks sideline offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Carroll over play calling during a December win over Los Angeles. He refused to speak to local media members by season’s end. And, Carroll revealed after last season, Sherman played through a sprained knee ligament.
“I may have gone over the top in some encounters,” Sherman said. “And I've talked to them (those coaches). And at the end of the day, those are the only people I feel I need to talk to.”
“I’m a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of player,” Sherman said. “At times it might have gotten overblown. I might have gone over the top. But (Carroll) understood where it was coming from, and so did my teammates. We are competitors. We are a competitive team. That’s why my teammates, they still ride with me. They still ‘ride or die,’ because good times or bad times, just like a family, you are going to have good times and bad ... they are going to ride with me through the good and the bad, and I am going to ride with them through the good and the bad, because we’ve been there. We’re battle-tested.”
So two years and four months later, do you feel that Super Bowl 49 loss to New England, when Wilson infamously threw an interception from the Patriots’ 1-yard line in the final seconds, still lingers over and affects this team? The main thrust of that ESPN story was that Sherman -- and Seattle’s defensive veterans -- do.
“I don’t. Because for it to linger, most of these guys would have to be here, and the guys that are here have moved past it,” Sherman said. “I mean we’ve had Pro Bowl, All-Pro seasons since then, and we’re battling. Sometimes you run into injuries like we did last year and the year before and you get derailed. Or you run into a better opponent like we did Carolina that (2015 season), and it doesn’t work out.
“I don’t think that has anything to do with a Super Bowl hangover or anything. It’s just football. A hundred-percent injury rate. You need some luck to get there. And unfortunately we didn’t have the luck we needed, and we didn’t make the plays that we need to move forward. But I don’t think it has anything to do with a Super Bowl hangover.
“I think we still have the tools and we still have everything we need. We win it this year, and I think the questions are still the same. I think it’s just, ‘Oh, they got one: Is the window closing?’
“Because you always need a story.”