An ESPN story released Thursday morning reveals Richard Sherman's discontent with the Seahawks dates back to the Super Bowl loss to New England.
Why were the Seahawks so publicly dangling Richard Sherman in trade talks this offseason?
ESPN’s Seth Wickersham took a really deep dive at answering that question and unveiled a fascinating story revealing a strained dynamic between Sherman, quarterback Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll that dates to the ill-fated decision to throw the ball from the 1-yard line in Super Bowl XLIX against the Patriots.
The story is titled “Why Richard Sherman can’t let go of Seattle’s Super Bowl loss” and reports that Sherman remains bothered by not only the defeat but Carroll’s refusal not to back down from the thought that it was a good call, as well as reporting that some team members feel the organization is not as hard on Wilson as it is on others (while also revealing something of an overall rift between the offense and defense that grew markedly during last season’s struggles).
A few hours after its release, though, Sherman called the story “just a bunch of nonsense from “anonymous” sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that” in a text to SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Regardless, the story figures to much-discussed and help set a storyline for the 2017 season one in which Sherman and his actions will be a focus throughout.
The beginning of the story details the famous (infamous?) mini-camp practice in 2014 that got the Seahawks penalized for violating no-contact rules (and allowed just one minicamp practice in 2015) featuring a well-publicized fight between Sherman and former receiver Phillip Bates.
The story also focuses in great detail on the issues of last season when Sherman had two in-game sideline blowups noting that “even some of Sherman’s defensive teammates privately felt he had crossed a line” with some of his criticisms of the coaches and that “three months later, after a second straight loss in the divisional round and increased chatter that an almost immortal team might be near the end of its run, the Seahawks and Sherman began to wonder whether a fresh start elsewhere would be best for both sides.”
But the story notes Seattle’s high asking price for Sherman — detailed here as two first-round picks — and that each side eventually got tired of the drama, with Sherman eventually accepting that he will be with the Seahawks in 2017.
And if you’re looking for optimism, it notes that by the end of the spring, Sherman appeared back to normal in his dealings with the team, appearing to give some validity to Carroll’s recent statement that his relationship with Sherman is “as good as ever.”
“By the draft, both sides were tired of the drama. The conversations turned into Sherman asking, “How do we get back to playing at the highest level?” It’s a new team this year: The coaching staff is younger, and Carroll has pledged to get back to running the ball more, to returning the offense to the version that won it all four seasons ago. The night before reporting for offseason workouts, Sherman sent a few tweets that ended with an affirmation that couldn’t have been said better by Carroll: “Honestly a lot of times nightmares come before the dream.”
“Carroll seemed to have done it again, flipping despair into hope. People in the building wondered how Sherman would respond to a hit to his pride, returning to Seattle after he had set the stage to be shipped. But he went about his job as if nothing had happened. All business. He’s tutoring the young defensive backs, drafted to carry on his legacy. Maybe Sherman needed to dream of playing elsewhere to realize how good he has it. Or maybe it’s all just believable now in spring but breakable come autumn, after the inevitable incomplete throw at the goal line.”
Not that everyone was impressed by the story.
Seahawk Michael Bennett quickly took to Twitter to call it “trash” and was later followed up by Sherman.