RENTON -- Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman strode to the podium following practice on Wednesday seemingly as jovial and affable as ever.
The All-Pro defensive back has been the subject of trade discussions this offseason and was the centerpiece of an ESPN The Magazine article pointing toward discord within the Seahawks locker room. Sherman, the piece stated, has had trouble putting the loss of Super Bowl XLIX behind him and was painted as having a problematic relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson.
If the discussions have weighed heavily on Sherman, he didn't appear to show it on Wednesday. Sherman spoke at length about the topics in his first meeting with the local media this offseason.
Sherman said that he had not asked for a trade from Seattle, though that had been reported earlier this offseason. The Seahawks entertained the idea of trading Sherman but found nothing of significance being offered in return and never truly came close to reaching a deal.
"You know this is a business, football is always a business," Sherman said. "You understand that from the day you get in it. You don't have much choice in the matter. You just gotta live your life. Don't worry about it."
Sherman said the team was transparent with him throughout the trade talks and said it's something that happens within the team every year. "They just made sure I knew, and you guys found out," he said. "Pretty open about it. It was never a situation where anybody asked for it. It was just a conversation."
Sherman indicated he wants to play his entire career in Seattle and retire as a member of the team and feels great about his future at this point in time. "I feel fantastic, he said. "I always feel good about my future as long as I’m playing good football and doing my job. Now if I go out there and play terrible, like somebody else, I wouldn’t feel good about anything. But as long as you’re playing good football and around my guys, I think I’ll be fine."
As far as the stories of locker room dysfunction, Sherman fought back against the claims of the stories and the storytelling itself. He said he felt the article, written by Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine, was authored in a way to drum up controversy during a slow time of the year. He also questioned the use of anonymous sources in the story in downplaying what those quotes alleged were issues within the team.
Ultimately, Sherman said his relationship with Wilson is as good as ever and that his teammates continue to have his back.
"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 and we think he is a great quarterback."
He did admit, in retrospect, that he may have gone a bit overboard last season in his very public criticisms of coordinators Kris Richard and Darrell Bevell. It's an admission he did not make last season after criticizing the play-calling of Bevell during a game against the Los Angeles Rams in December.
"At all times I'm trying to win, at all times I'm trying to push the envelope and push the limits," Sherman said. "And it has always been the case - publicly, privately, and elsewhere. So that's what he means. It's never changed, it's never wavered. At times it might have gotten kind of overblown, I might have gone over the top, but he understood where it was coming from and so did my teammates.
"It's just a competitive team. And that's why my teammates still ride with me. They're still 'ride or die.' Because good times and bad times. Just like a family. Just like any other family. You're going to have good times and bad times, but you show your true colors through the good and the bad. And they ride with me through the good and the bad and I ride with them through the good and the bad because we've been there, we're battle-tested."
Only time will tell if Sherman's view of the team dynamic and his role in it is ultimately correct and the Seahawks can continue to succeed despite the occasional rough patch. However, Sherman finally had the chance to tell his side of the story. Now both Sherman and the Seahawks will attempt to move forward as the offseason concludes with the final practice of mini-camp on Thursday.
Photo Credit: Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman talks to the media following practice at veteran mini-camp on June 14, 2017. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)