Richard Sherman’s rift with the Seahawks and specifically their offense just went national.
Seth Wickersham wrote a fantastically detailed piece published by espn.com on Thursday. It shows how the three-time All-Pro cornerback has been at odds -- and worse -- with Seattle’s offense. The gist from Wickersham quoting unnamed Seahawks players, staffers, a former assistant coach (of which there aren’t many from the last couple years off Pete Carroll’s staff): Sherman is still simmering because he hasn’t gotten over the Seahawks decided to pass from the 1-yard line at the end of Super Bowl 49 in February 2015.
You know the result as much as Sherman and Carroll do: New England’s stunning interception of Russell Wilson gave the Patriots’ NFL title instead of Seattle’s second consecutive one.
Out here in the upper left of the NFL world, we’ve seen and known -- and written -- this before.
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In December I wrote in this space coming out of Sherman berating Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from passing from the 1-yard line during the win over the Los Angeles Rams a story on it. The headline was: “Sherman’s latest sideline outburst at coaches hints at defense-versus-offense rift.”
My TNT colleague Dave Boling and I discussed this rift on the field after that game:
“Ripping a coach for all to see, while he’s still trying to call plays, is not a recipe to achieve what they are all sacrificing for: to win a second Super Bowl,” I wrote here on Seahawks Insider that night. “This is the second time this season Sherman has made such a public display of what on almost any other team in any sport would be considered insubordination – and dealt with accordingly. In October against Atlanta, Sherman roared at (defensive coordinator Kris) Richard on the same sideline, after a blown coverage resulted in the Falcons’ Julio Jones scoring a touchdown.
“What it looked like from my seat in the press box Thursday (during that win over the Rams Dec. 15): Sherman was venting as part of defense that is beyond tired of the offense being so inconsistent and, at times many defenders seem to believe, detrimental to the Seahawks’ chances at a Super Bowl.
“And it looked bad. ... Sherman’s latest outburst is the product of one of the NFL’s best defenses waiting for the offense to catch up. To allow Seattle to realize whatever its full potential may still be.”
That was another drama in what was a tumultous 2016 for Sherman, and for Carroll trying to corral his outspoken superstar. Then this offseason, the Seahawks were oddly open discussing how they were fielding calls from other teams interested in potentially trading for the franchise cornerstone.
The most telling quote of the many during and after Sherman’s explosions came from Carroll on Oct. 17, the day after his player’s blowup at Richard: “I’m fine operating like this.”
And so the Seahawks have, and apparently will again in 2017. General manager John Schneider said last month just before the draft that the team has “kind of moved past” the idea of trading Sherman. That’s not because Seattle didn’t want to trade him or Sherman didn’t want to be traded, but because the Seahawks didn’t get the king’s ransom they sought in those talks this winter and spring.
In the big picture, Thursday’s espn.com story and the fact it anonymously quotes details from what Wickersham portrays as friends of Sherman suggests Sherman wants it known he’s not done simmering. That alone could be why he approved of -- if not initiated -- the Seahawks talking so weirdly and openly about trading him.
He has two years and $22-plus million in base salary remaining on his Seattle contract. He is, for the first time, seeing at age 29 that his Seahawks end may be coming sooner rather than later. He knows Seattle’s ongoing window to win Super Bowls could close at any time. The “Legion of Boom” isn’t in its mid-20s prime anybody; those guys are turning 30 and coming off major injuries such as Earl Thomas’ broken leg, Kam Chancellor’s two offseason ankle surgeries and Sherman’s own sprained knee through which he played the end of last season.
The urgency and anger has long since been there for Sherman. Thursday’s espn.com story shined a national light on that fact.