Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been the subject of plenty of media attention this offseason, ranging from the team's rather open discussion of a possible trade, to an ESPN article that centered on Sherman, his relationship with Russell Wilson and the way a Super Bowl loss might still be affecting the team. Up until now, however, Sherman himself had been mostly quiet on those topics. That changed Wednesday following the second day of a three-day minicamp when Sherman opened up on those topics and plenty of others in long, wide-ranging press conference.
Here are some highlights from Sherman's nearly 20-minute session with the media:
On what led to trade talks this offseason: "It's just a conversation they have every year. I guess this year, more people knew about it, but it's conversations they have every year—everybody is open, everybody is available. They just made sure I knew, and you guys found out and they were pretty open with it. So there was never really a situation where anybody asked for it, it was just conversation."
Asked specifically if he initiated trade talks, Sherman said, "We didn't. We did not. We just had conversations about it. It is what it is. It was great conversation, great dialogue, we were transparent. Nobody's really worried about it."
On if he's OK with idea of the team considering trading him: "I don't mind. This is a business, football is always a business. You understand that from the day you get in it. You don't have much choice in the matter, so you've just got to live your life, don't worry about it."
Sherman said he understood that the Seahawks would at least entertain the idea of trading an All-Pro cornerback because, "Because they're always open to hear the possibilities, to hear what people have to say. If somebody comes with two first-rounders I wouldn't blame them in the least. I wouldn't blame them at all. It'd be another crazy trade like Herschel Walker or somebody like that. But it's just conversation. I think we have a fantastic relationship and always have and it's always been transparent. To have those communications and not have them in a rude or discourteous way, but just professional."
And even after the possibility of Sherman playing elsewhere was brought to the surface this offseason, he still likes the idea of finishing his career where it began: "I would definitely like to retire a Seahawk and finish my career here… I think this is a great city. I think this is a city that I'd 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. But I think that it'd be a great place to raise kids and to continue my career."
In an article that appeared in the June edition of ESPN The Magazine, Sherman was portrayed as still not being over the team's Super Bowl XLIX loss, leading to issues with quarterback Russell Wilson, and ultimately to the team considering a trade this offseason. Sherman disagreed with much of the article, and gave his detailed thoughts on it for the first time Wednesday.
"He could have easily made a story about how a great team has a great competitive environment and a competitive locker room and an iron-sharpens-iron mentality from offense to defense," Sherman said. "And that would have been fantastic, it would have been a fantastic story, it probably would have still got the same number of clicks, but he went from a controversial, nonsense angle, which anybody could do. You could do that about any competitive team in the NFL. You can take one snapshot moment of a practice—of a team on their way to the Super Bowl—and say, 'Wow, there must be discord there. Wow, they must be not going to the playoffs this year.' But he could have made a story about, 'Wow, their offense and defense really go at it every day and really push themselves to the limits.' And really celebrate the competitiveness and appreciated how great the team is, how great the locker room has to be for guys to be able to be that competitive on the field, then come into the locker room and have a fantastic relationship."
Sherman said the team "didn't really worry about (the article), because we know what the truth is. Obviously it doesn't matter what the truth is to the public, because you've got stories like this, and people are like, 'Oh my God, what's going on in the locker room?' And it's like, well we've won a playoff game every year since then."
Sherman continued, saying, "You're not talking about a team who hasn't missed the playoffs in five years, you're not talking about a team who has missed the playoffs in any year. Maybe if you were talking about a team who had a great team and all these superstars and missed the playoffs, then you could say, 'Man, there must be something going wrong.' You're talking about a team that made the playoffs every year, but you have nothing else to talk about… To say that Pete (Carroll) has turmoil in the locker room, or that guys don't like each other, guys don't like their quarterback, or there was one story saying somebody said the quarterback wasn't black enough, these are jokes. We laugh about this in the locker room because it's a complete joke. But in the public, it's actually a story, because nobody can question it. Nobody really asks the question. If you asked us, 'Did anybody say Russell wasn't black enough?' Of course not. Nobody even thought that. It's hard enough being a black man in America. To question, is somebody is black enough? It's just laughable. It's tough to continue to deal with that."
"Like any other family, do we have our arguments, do we have our tough times? Of course… You take one snapshot of our locker room, of a competitive environment with us on the field and you create a whole story about it, that's what's unfortunate."
Relationship With Russell Wilson
One of the focuses of that ESPN article was on Sherman's—and the entire defense's—relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson.
Asked about his relationship with Wilson Wednesday, Sherman said, "Oh, it's fantastic. It's fantastic. We're teammates. It's like a family. It's like everybody else in a family. We fight for one another. Just like I'm fighting for the other 52 guys out there, I'm fighting for him, and he's fighting for us. And we have a great appreciation for how tough our quarterback is and what he has played through. Last year he played through a number of injuries, and he's not doing that because, 'Oh, man, I've just got to go out there and it's a job.' He's doing that for the guys next to him, and we appreciate that. We think he's a great quarterback. But it doesn't matter what we say at the end of the day, because we can say that until the cows come home, but one guy says he has a story and he has heard a rumor about this, about somebody down the way saying something, and that's the truth."
As for the notion that Wilson is treated with favoritism by the team, Sherman noted that the same could be said of any quarterback in the NFL: "You could literally say that about any team, any quarterback. You could say, well the Patriots probably think Tom Brady gets treated better than everybody else. It'd be a story."
Following the Brady comment, defensive end Michael Bennett, who was standing off to the side, interjected, "He does. That's a fact." Sherman laughed, then continued.
"You could make this story, this exact same story about any of the teams in the playoffs, and a couple that weren't in the playoffs," Sherman added. "Any competitive team that has a great offense and a great defense, Super Bowl teams, Atlanta and New England, Green Bay, I guarantee if you go to a practice in the middle of training camp and you mic'd everybody up, you wouldn't be able to produce that story, you wouldn't be able to produce that audio, because that's what it takes. We play a violent, adrenaline-infused game that takes everything you've got. In order to play it at a high level, you've got to give everything you've got. So to catch us on the field and try to make a story out of some nonsense like that is laughable, but it's also the unfortunate time we're in, I guess.
"I can't imagine what the story would have been if we hadn't made the playoffs. I couldn't imagine what the story would have been if we had missed the playoffs after we lost the Super Bowl. We wouldn't have been the first team, and there have been teams since that have missed the playoffs after making the Super Bowl, and not a story has been written. It is what it is, it's football, it happens, you win some, you lose some. But for some reason, false rhetoric is something that follows our team specifically."
Last Year's Sideline Incidents
Sherman was involved with two highly-visible moments on the sideline last season, first when he confronted defensive coordinator Kris Richard following an Atlanta touchdown in an eventual win over the Falcons, then later when he got into it with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Earlier this offseason, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted that Sherman "went through a lot last year, most of it self-inflicted" and on Wednesday, Sherman didn't disagree with his coach's assessment.
"He means I hold myself to a high standard and I am a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of player, so I'm competitive as all get out," Sherman said. "That's what he means. I'm competitive as anybody out there. At all times I'm competing. At all times I'm trying to win. At all times I'm trying to push the envelope and push the limits, and it has always been the case, publicly, privately and elsewhere. So that's what he means. That has 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. So like I said before, it's just the competitor. It's a competitive team. That's why my teammates still ride with me. They still ride or die because it's 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."
Asked if he went too far at times, Sherman said, "I just said I might have gone over the top in some encounters and I've talked to them, but at the end of the day those are the only people I feel like I need to talk to."
Check out photos from Day 2 of the Seahawks' mandatory minicamp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.