Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on his radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday that cornerback Richard Sherman played the second half of the season with an MCL injury, which contributed to his frustration. That Seattle never reported the injury during the season, though, could mean the NFL will look into whether the team violated...
After revealing on his radio show Monday morning that cornerback Richard Sherman played much of the latter half of the season with a sprained MCL, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during his season-ending press conference later in the day he hadn’t realized the injury had never been disclosed. It was a revelation that the NFL could view as running afoul of the league’s policies about disclosing injuries and possibly leave Seattle open to penalties.
Carroll made the revelation about Sherman’s injury late during his regular weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle on the Brock and Salk Show, saying he thought Sherman’s struggles with the injury led to some frustration that contributed to some of his sideline outbursts and conflicts with the media.
The team never listed Sherman on its injury reports this season with the knee injury, however, and that fact had some league observers wondering if the Seahawks could be subject to penalties for violating the league’s injury report policies.
Carroll intimated the team did not list Sherman since he was not considered as being in danger of missing a game and also did not miss practices — or any game snaps — due to the injury. The team listed Sherman as sitting out at least one day of practice for most of the second half of the season after Sherman played all of the five-quarter 6-6 tie at Arizona on Oct 23.
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Those absences, which commonly came on Fridays, came with a non-injury related designation, which meant Sherman was just taking a rest day (something he had also done in past years).
He was also listed on the injury report following the Nov. 20 game against the Eagles (or leading into the Tampa Bay game on Nov. 27) with an ankle injury, which was the only time all season he was listed as having a specific injury. Sherman did not practice on Wednesday of that week — the only time he was listed as missing a practice all season due to a specific injury — but was then listed as a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday and started against Tampa Bay.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize we hadn’t revealed it,’’ Carroll said of the knee injury during his press conference, an injury he referred to as “legit,” which is how he generally describes significant injuries.
“I don’t even remember what game it was, it was somewhere in the middle … I don’t know,” Carroll said. “He was fine about it. He didn’t miss anything. The same with (quarterback) Russell (Wilson), he was fine about it. I don’t know how they do that, but they did.”
Asked a follow-up about why Sherman was not listed on the injury report, Carroll said “I don’t know. I’m feeling like I screwed that up with not telling you that because that happened, but he was OK. So I don’t know. He never missed anything, which is probably why.”
Carroll said Sherman would not need off-season surgery for the injury.
Sherman played 1,054 snaps during the regular season, the second-most of any defensive player, 97.59 percent, behind only middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who played 1,073. Sherman then played all but one snap in the playoffs (126 of a possible 127).
The NFL requires teams to reveal injuries in large part due to concerns about gambling and in an effort to be as transparent as possible to the public about which players will be available to play.
The NFL injury report policy states that the “the (daily) Practice Report is expected to provide clubs and the public an accurate description of a player’s injury status and his level of participation during the practice week. All players who have significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the Practice Report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.’’
The policy further states that “when in doubt, it is best to include a player on the report’’ and that “should disputes arise with regard to compliance it will be incumbent upon the club’’ to show that it acted properly. Violations can result in a fine to the team and/or fines to individuals involved as well as possibly losing draft choices. Seattle already has been docked a fifth-round pick for the 2017 draft for violating rules regarding off-season workouts, a penalty announced in September.
Pro Football Talk reported Monday that the NFL had no immediate comment on the revelation of Sherman’s injury.
The New York Jets were fined $125,000 in 2009 for a violation regarding an injury to Brett Favre. However, the Colts were not punished last year for not revealing that quarterback Andrew Luck had been playing with broken ribs.
Carroll made the revelation of Sherman’s injury while saying that he had “a big meeting” with Sherman on Sunday as players cleared out their lockers and that Sherman “has some regrets about this season, didn’t go the way we wanted it to go.
“He dealt with a significant knee the whole second half of this season and it was a struggle to him to try to get out there. He had an MCL problem that he could play with, like Russell did. He had the same problem Russell did he made it through it, the same problem (receiver) Tyler (Lockett) had. You guys didn’t realize how hurt Tyler was early in the year they just made it through it. And it was remarkable what those guys did. But that weighs on you, particularly when you are out there on the edge and you know you are not quite 100 percent and it fed in to some of the stuff that he had to deal with.’’
Carroll went on to say that he admired “how hard (Sherman) worked at this thing and how he tried to handle it and also when he made his mistakes he was burdened by that and he had to work his way through it. He’s a good man and he’s trying to get everything right.’’
Sherman’s season included a blowup at defensive coordinator Kris Richard in the Atlanta game on Oct. 16, another sideline blowup aimed at Carroll and offensive coordinator against the Rams on Dec. 14, after which he said he felt he had the right to question offensive play calls, and a dispute with media that began the following week in the wake of questions regarding the Rams’ incident. Sherman declined to hold his usual podium sessions with the media the final week of the regular season and the post-season but after saying he would not talk to local reporters, he did talk to all reporters following each of the team’s post-season games.
Carroll said he held the meeting with Sherman Sunday “to make sure we left on really good terms. We talk a lot, I talk with him all the time. I just wanted to make sure to touch base one more time because it was a difficult year for him. The media thing was a big deal and all that. He made it through it. It was hard.”