Richard Sherman: Pete Carroll's message to team became stale

ByBrady Henderson ESPN logo
Friday, March 16, 2018

The Seattle Seahawks have yet to comment publicly on the motivation behind the recent moves that have claimed some of the team's most established veterans, but Richard Sherman has a theory.

The star cornerback -- who signed with NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers this week -- said on the Uninterrupted's "The Thomahawk Show" that coach Pete Carroll's message had become stale with some of the team's longer-tenured players and suggested that it's not the type of thing that would happen in college, where rosters turn over regularly.

"I think it was kind of philosophical on his part," Sherman said of Carroll, a former USC coach, on a podcast hosted by former Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and retired receiver Andrew Hawkins. "A lot of us have been there six, seven, eight years, and his philosophy is more built for college. Four years, guys rotate in, rotate out, and so we had kind of heard all his stories, we had kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote that he had. And honestly because he just recycles them. And they're cool stories, they're great for team chemistry and building, etcetera, etcetera. But we had literally heard them all. We could recite them before he even started to say them."

The Seahawks cut Sherman last week and traded defensive lineman Michael Bennett, another mainstay during the most successful era in franchise history. Seattle also cut cornerbacksJeremy Laneand DeShawn Shead, though Lane was never expected back, and the decision with Shead was purely procedural. Those moves have been part of an offseason of upheaval for the Seahawks following a 9-7 season that snapped their string of five straight playoff appearances.

Sherman, who's coming off a torn Achilles, said it "felt kind of disrespectful to me in a way" that the Seahawks would choose to move on from him given how they've stuck with other prominent players who have suffered serious injuries. He listed free safety Earl Thomas and tight endJimmy Grahamas examples.

"It's just unfortunate," he said. "At the end of the day it just seems like -- I don't know how to say it -- they've kind of lost their way a little bit in terms of how they see players and how they evaluate players. It was kind of an odd situation because we've obviously had players injured multiple times, multiple years and this was the first time that anyone who has been injured of the core players has been cut."

Thomas, though, has been the subject of trade rumors, with reports stating that the Seahawks are open to dealing him at the right price.

"I think at the end of the day it just became an issue of devaluing core players, players that are playing at a high level and really being curious about younger players and curious about the unknown," Sherman said. "They say, 'Maybe this guy's going to be the next guy,' instead of saying, 'Hey, you have Hall of Fame talents in your secondary. How about you ride this out.' It'd be like Pittsburgh saying, 'Troy Polamalu is great, but let's figure out what this guy behind him has.' "

Sherman refuted the notion that he chose to sign with a division rival out of a desire to stick it to his former team, saying that one reason he chose the 49ers was because they offered him an opportunity to remain on the West Coast, which was a priority. And he defended his decision to sign a deal that's loaded with incentives, which has become the subject of scrutiny after Sherman negotiated it while serving as his own agent.

"A lot of factors went into this decision. It wasn't just, hey, the San Francisco 49ers play Seattle and it's a big-time rivalry. I'm going to sign with them," he said. "At the end of the day, they were the first team that called, they were the team that showed the most interest, offered the most money and once we did our medical -- I'm coming off of two offseason surgeries on both legs, and at the end of the day, they needed to be protected in case my injuries never heal the way they're supposed to, I never return, my ability to play football at a high level isn't there anymore.

"And I was fine with that. I trust in myself, I trust my ability to heal, to rehab, to grind and I wanted to be protected in case I do return to form, I return to form and I play at a Pro Bowl level and I'm voted to Pro Bowl, All-Pro, etcetera, etcetera, I want to be compensated as such, and the number that they offered me, I was comfortable with. I get my money guaranteed once I make the Pro Bowl; I make All-Pro and it gets even better. That was something I was really comfortable with on top of my family, my family needing to be on the West Coast. That was a requirement for a number of reasons."

Sherman said the Seahawks didn't ask him to take a pay cut that would have lowered his scheduled $11 million salary. He reiterated that he gave the Seahawks a chance to match his offer from San Francisco.

"They said they were just going to give me a chance to feel out free agency," Sherman said. "I don't think they thought I would get a decent offer."

Sherman's initial comments about Carroll came in response to a question about the coach's future, specifically whether the direction of the franchise could impact how much longer he wants to continue coaching. At 66, Carroll is the NFL's oldest head coach and has two years remaining on his contract.

"Honestly, he showed no signs of it," Sherman said of Carroll.

But he added: "I think that it depends on how this season goes for them. If they do great, get to the playoffs and continue to have the success, then I think he continues to go. But if things don't go as planned and they don't get to the playoffs and they have a rough year, then I think that'll weigh into his decision. The legacy begins to get tainted at that point."

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