Speaking to the media for the first time since last season, the outspoken cornerback threw his support behind Russell Wilson and made it clear he wasn’t bothered by the team soliciting trade offers for him.
It happened 10 minutes and 35 seconds into a news conference broadcast on national television.
Speaking at length with the media for the first time in nearly six months, Richard Sherman fielded a question about the tumult he endured last year, which Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called “self-inflicted.”
Sherman initially responded by describing his competitive nature and desire to push the limits. Then he said this: “I might have gone over the top on some encounters.”
For Sherman, this is essentially a watershed moment. Despite the sideline blowups or contentious media confrontations, Richard repeatedly dug himself deeper by refusing to admit he was even remotely out of line.
But Wednesday felt different. Wednesday, Sherman was affable, humorous and at times self-reflective.
Does this mean this coming season will be free of Richard-related drama? Not necessarily. But it does look as if he is trying to press the reset button.
How do you feel about your future with this team? Sherman was asked.
“I feel fantastic,” he said.
And though it’s just minicamp — when everybody is in the best physical and psychological shape of their lives — it sounds as if he means it.
Wednesday’s presser covered an array of topics people have been waiting for Sherman to weigh in on. The first was last month’s ESPN article, which depicted a fractured locker room and testy relationship between Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson.
Sherman dismissed the story as “nonsense,” chastised author Seth Wickersham for chasing web clicks and blasted the concept of using anonymous sources. After his journalism lecture, though, he praised his QB as a teammate and a leader.
“We have a great appreciation for how tough our quarterback is and what he has played through,” Sherman said. “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.”
Who knows if this reflects Sherman’s true feelings, but he presented himself about as earnestly as possible. He emphasized the family concept, noting how every competitive team is going to have its bouts, but that it is unfair to convey discord based on moments of tension.
Then came the next question: Does he want to be here?
There is little disputing that the biggest story of the Seahawks’ offseason was the brass dangling Sherman as trade bait. And it wasn’t just that a Super Bowl contender with a thin secondary would consider parting with a likely Hall of Fame cornerback — it was that its coach and general manager were so public about it the possibility.
But Wednesday, Sherman showed no animosity toward those offseason conversations. He even joked that if the Seahawks were offered two first-round picks for him, they should probably take it.
A reporter followed by asking if he would like to end his career in Seattle. The answer? A resounding yes.
“I would definitely like to retire a Seahawk and finish my career here. We started something special, and I think it would be best to end something special here,” Sherman said. “This is a city 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.”
So here was the recap of the Richard Sherman narrative before Wednesday: He blows up on coaches, seemingly irritates teammates in the process, doubles down by refusing wrongdoing, essentially boycotts the media, gets his name thrown on the trade block and appears to want out of town.
But now? Now, he’s the guy who admitted he went too far, defends his quarterback, expresses his admiration for the Seahawks and the city of Seattle and projects like the Sherman of old.
People should be happy about that.
Of course, one never knows how these things will play out. It’s infinitely easier to be upbeat in June than it is after a 1-3 start or a dip in individual production. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good sign.
Training camp will be starting soon. And Sherman? He seems to be starting over.