Doug Baldwin, like many Seahawks, didn’t like how Richard Sherman’s career ended in Seattle
Leave it to Doug Baldwin to state in the plainest way how many in the Seahawks’ feel—and how Richard Sherman seems to still feel—about how it ended for Sherman in Seattle this spring.
“I thought it was really sh***y, to be honest with you, how it ended,” the Pro Bowl wide receiver and Sherman’s teammate for seven years with the Seahawks and before that in college at Stanford said on Wednesday.
Sherman is now with the San Francisco 49ers because the Seahawks basically fired him in March. Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider decided to waive the three-time All-Pro cornerback injured in March months into his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon rather than pay him the $11 million Seattle owed him for 2018.
Sherman comes back to Seattle to play for the first time against Baldwin and his former Seahawks on Sunday when the 49ers (2-9) play at CenturyLink Field.
“I would really have liked for him to stay here, and have an opportunity to finish his career with this organization,” Baldwin said of Sherman, with whom he’s talked again multiple times this game week.
“But it’s part of the business. Doesn’t work out that way.”
Baldwin talks regularly with Sherman, so he knows both sides of Sherman’s parting with the Seahawks more intimately than most in Seattle. That’s why I asked Baldwin if he thought Sherman should still be here, if there were ways he could still be in Seattle, ways from the team’s end it could have kept Sherman on the team rather than now on its rival.
“Do I think he could be here?” Baldwin repeated back. “Yes, I think he could be here.
“But, again, I’m not the GM. I’m not the head coach. I’m not the owner. That’s above my pay grade.”
Baldwin, 30, entered the NFL with the Seahawks in 2011, the same spring Sherman did. Baldwin did as an undrafted free agent from Stanford. The Seahawks drafted his college teammate in the fifth round. For seven years they practiced daily against each other. They know each other’s “tricks,” as Baldwin called them, on the field, and their likes and lives off it.
They won a Super Bowl together, Seattle’s only NFL championship, in the 2013 season. They then signed contract extensions for other-worldly money: Sherman for $56 million in 2014 and Baldwin for $46 million two years later.
Now, only one is still a Seahawk. Baldwin is the longest-tenured one on the team.
And he wanted Sherman here with him. Yet Baldwin understands any ending for Sherman in Seattle, after all he accomplished, said, did here, wasn’t going to be smooth.
“I mean, is there any good way? No, there is no good way to have your teammates who you are close with, who you’ve built an organization with,” Baldwin said. “To have them to leave in any fashion is not fun.”
The 49ers’ public-relations staff declined a request from the media who regularly cover the Seahawks to interview Sherman this week. He talked to the Bay Area’s media at 49ers headquarters on Thursday.
“You just expect that after you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you while you’re hurt,” Sherman told reporters at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., via my pal Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s kind of more of a respect thing than anything. But they did. So you’ve kind of got to roll with the business.”
Reporters in Santa Clara sked Sherman if he is uniquely aware of what Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is capable of as he prepares to play against him for the first time this weekend.
“I’ve also seen him throw five picks in a game,” Sherman said. “So you see what he’s capable of on both sides of it. You understand that he can be defended.”
Asked where things stand with Wilson now that they are no longer teammates, Sherman said: “I don’t really have a relationship with Russell.
“We were teammates. We played through a very special time for the franchise.”
Branch wrote: “Sherman didn’t sound broken up about (his relationship with Wilson), but he’s clearly still upset the Seahawks released him in eight months ago when he was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon to avoid paying him $11 million this season.”
Among other things, Sherman also said he stands behind the comments he made on his way out of Seattle in March, that the Seahawks “lost their way” in building championship teams, on top of him saying veteran, core players had tuned out Carroll’s messages.
“One-hundred percent,” Sherman said. “If you just look at the draft classes we had early on and the draft classes they have had in the last three, four, five years, the truth is the truth. I don’t have to make stuff up.”
“People can take it how they want to. It’s unfortunate that things have gone the way they have.”
Asked back in Renton if Sherman has been able to put his abrupt exit from the Seahawks behind him and if he, Sherman, shares Baldwin’s view that Sunday is just another game, Baldwin said: “I don’t know. I mean, from a humanistic standpoint I think it’s very difficult to separate those emotions, you know? He gave so much blood, sweat and tears while he was here.
“I think him coming back there will be some emotions there, obviously, him coming back and playing in that stadium—albeit in a different jersey. I think that will definitely have some emotional baggage with it.”
Sherman told reporters in Santa Clara when asked if he was surprised his former Seahawks, rebuilding, are 6-5 and on track for a return to the playoffs: “Not really. They are 6-5. It’s not like they are 8-1 or 12-1; if they were that I’d be very surprised.
"They are kind of middle-of-the-road.”
Then, Thursday afternoon, the Seahawks won a Twitter-timing award by posting this in the middle of Richard Sherman Revenge/Return Week in Seattle: