Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said Thursday night he expects to be fully healthy for the 2018 season and that he expects to be playing with the Seahawks

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When the 2018 NFL season begins, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he expects to be able to play at the same level as he has throughout a career that has him on track to someday make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And, Sherman said after an appearance at the 83rd Annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year banquet Thursday night, he also fully expects when he does return to the field that he will be with the Seahawks.

“Not in my mind,’’ Sherman said when asked if he thinks there is any doubt about whether he will be with the Seahawks in 2018.

Sherman’s future has been in question due not only to a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered on Nov. 9 at Arizona but also because he is entering the final year of his contract and the Seahawks could save $11 million against the cap by releasing or trading him.

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But Sherman said his recovery from his right Achilles tendon injury is going better than doctors anticipated — he ditched the scooter he was seen using on sidelines of games and practices the final two months of the season a few weeks ago, and joked Thursday that it was “a sad day’’ when he got rid of the scooter before adding said with a smile that he also burned the green suit he wore to the game he was injured.

“I guess I’m more ahead of schedule than they(doctors) thought I was,’’ Sherman said of his progress in recovering from Achilles surgery.

Sherman is still due to have arthroscopic surgery on his left heel soon to shave bone spurs that he said are jabbing into his Achilles.

That surgery, Sherman said, had to wait until he had recovered well enough from the Achilles surgery on his other foot.

“That will slow me down a little bit,’’ he said. “But it (his right Achilles) feels great.’’

In fact, Sherman said he thinks he’d be ready to go for mini-camp in June, but that he thinks the team will take it slow with him and not allow him to take the field until training camp.

“I could probably be ready to go in mini-camp,’’ Sherman said. “But they won’t let me do anything, so I’ll probably be out there running. But they won’t let me practice.’’

Sherman said he expects to begin running fully in April.

That Sherman is entering the final year of his contract coming off of a significant injury has led to speculation that he may not reach a deal with the team this offseason, which has also fueled speculation about his future with the team. The Seahawks have typically extended their most significant players before they enter the final year of their contract.

But Sherman said he didn’t think his injury necessarily has to impact his contract negotiations.

“Honestly, I’m not sure (if it changes anything) on their side of things,’’ he said. “It doesn’t change anything in my mind. If we have the talks, we do. If we don’t, it is what it is.’’

Sherman, who was at the Sports Star of the Year awards to introduce ESPN 710 radio host John Clayton, who received the Keith Jackson Award for media excellence, also revealed he has decided to represent himself in his negotiations with the Seahawks.

Sherman had previously been represented by Ben Dogra, who had his license revoked by the NFL Players Association in 2016 before being reinstated in 2017.

“That whole agent thing is really overrated at this point in time,’’ Sherman said. “But yeah, any conversations that we have (Sherman and the Seahawks) we will do that then. But the cap situation is already kind of weird. So we will see.’’

Sherman also called the firing of defensive coordinator Kris Richard “kind of odd,’’ said he is confident safety Earl Thomas won’t hold out and said he wouldn’t rule out that safety Kam Chancellor could play again someday.

Here’s what Sherman said on those topics:

  • On the firing of Kris Richard, Sherman said: “It was kind of odd but I guess time for a change. They made a change on the offensive side so (change) the defensive side. I didn’t see it coming. But you know, I guess we don’t know everything.’’ Sherman had publicly advocated for the team to hire Richard as defensive coordinator following the departure of Dan Quinn in 2015 and said he kept in constant contact with Richard this offseason. “Yeah I spoke to him throughout the whole process,’’ Sherman said. “We had a very open dialogue about the offers he was getting. Thank goodness he had a ton of respect around the league and had a number of offers and picked the one that he felt suited him best.’’ Richard was recently named as the defensive passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Sherman, though, also said he wasn’t surprised that the team made changes and that he didn’t think it would be tough to adjust to new coaches. “Not really,’’ he said. “It’s business. It’s football, you are used to seeing it.’’ Sherman said the team is “trying to get everyone back on track and get healthy and get back after it … but obviously it’s going to look different.’’
  • As for Thomas’ public threat to hold out if he does not have a new contract when the season begins, Sherman said he fully expects Thomas to be on the field when the season begins, contract or no contract. “Earl is not going to hold out,’’ Sherman said. “He said it so you don’t have to dig into it. Just like Earl said he was retiring (following a leg injury in 2016). You can always read too much into Earl. He loves football, he loves the game and obviously he is making $8.5 million a year (officially, Thomas is making $10 million) and the top player at his position is making 14. So being the competitor that he is he wants more, out of respect more than anything. It’s kind of disrespect. He feels he is the best in the game and he is being paid like the seventh or eighth. But I expect him to be on the field when it’s time.’’
  • As for Chancellor, Sherman said he is in good spirits and still awaiting final words on tests on his neck and whether he can play again. “He and his wife are traveling around,’’ Sherman said. “They went to Italy, New York at some fashion show. He is in great spirits. Everything is just testing. He has to go back and get an MRI every couple of months, so there’s not much he can do, like any rehab. He can do the healing. So just have to make sure the pictures look okay.’’