The Seahawks paid him nearly $45 million, they didn't owe him any more. It was a smart time to drop Sherman.

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Sorry, but did you expect something different? Did you think you were going to hear a list of pleasantries and well-wishes? Was there a chance in Hades he was going to wax poetic about fond memories and locker-room bonds? Not likely.

A leopard can’t change its spots, and a Sherman must take his shots. That’s as clear as it’s ever been.

Thursday, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman reminded me how quickly he could put himself on Page 1. He reminded me how his candor was always compelling even if it was cringeworthy. He reminded me how you could never step away when he was at the podium.

And he reminded me how the Seahawks were right to part ways with him when they did.

Here’s the highlight reel from Thursday’s news conference with Sherman, who will return to CenturyLink Field for the first time Sunday.

  • On his relationship with Russell Wilson: “I don’t really have a relationship with Russell. We were teammates. We played through a very special time for the franchise.”
  • On seeing all the things Wilson is capable of: “I’ve also seen him throw five picks in a game, so you see what he’s capable of on both sides of it. You understand that he can be defended.”
  • On how good the Seahawks (6-5) are: “They’re a middle of the road team.”
  • On how things ended in Seattle: “You just expect that once you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you when you’re hurt. It’s kind of a respect thing more than anything.”

There’s a double standard in sports media where we loathe the cliches spewed by someone such as Wilson, then condemn the barbs spewed by someone such as Sherman. I don’t think that’s right. I also think one could mount a defense that his comments about Russell weren’t as inflammatory as some are making them out to be.

There are a lot of fine people I’ve worked with that I don’t keep in touch with. And Sherman has never been afraid to smack-talk opponents — whether it be Tom Brady postgame or rival cornerbacks on Twitter.

But there was also something about Thursday that seemed particularly resentful. And I can’t help but think that resentment would have come to a head had the Seahawks kept Richard around.

Vicious as Sherman has been — whether it be laying into Skip Bayless, Michael Crabtree or Darrelle Revis — he’s always contended that they were the ones to start the beef. Wilson, on the other hand, has never publicly dissed Sherman, and praised him throughout his own news conference Thursday.

I don’t think Sherman would be disrespecting Doug Baldwin if asked about route-running. I don’t think he’d point out previous dropped balls if asked about Tyler Lockett’s touchdown total. As has been indicated in past stories, this thing with Wilson seems personal.

As far as the Seahawks cutting him while he was recovering from his Achilles injury this offseason? Can you really blame them?

Sherman doesn’t think a team should release you when you’re hurt. Truth is, that’s usually the optimal time to do it — especially if you’re nearing 30 and playing a speed-based position.

That may sound brutal, but that’s the NFL.

I’ll take the ice-cold general manager over the sentimental one every time. Thank-you money is a nice gesture in March, but it won’t help get you to February.

Considering Sherman’s contributions during Seattle’s Super Bowl days, the Seahawks owe him all the accolades and honors they can bestow. But after paying him nearly $45 million, they didn’t owe him any more cash.

Seahawk fans have every right to ignore Sherman’s faults and concentrate on his feats. There were the 34 interceptions, the NFC title game tip and a swagger that helped make him the most feared cornerback in the league.

But the 12s grounded in reality are also acutely aware of the sideline blowups, the insubordination and a compulsion for conflict.

This year’s Seahawks are unlike anything Sherman was a part of. The offseason turnover was intense, and the early struggles — particularly from Wilson — were immense. Throw in Earl Thomas’ contract situation, and I can’t help but wonder if Richard’s voice would have been more of a hindrance than a help.

Asked about Sherman’s exit from Seattle Thursday, Baldwin wasn’t cryptic.

“It was really (crappy),” he said.

Maybe so. But also necessary.

The Seahawks needed to change. And Sherman, well, I’m not sure he can.