Richard Sherman met with the media following Seattle's Monday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, a workout held ahead of the team's Thursday night preseason finale in the Bay Area against the Oakland Raiders.
Here's three things we learned from the Seahawks cornerback:
1. Jimmy Graham Will "Be A Big Weapon For Us"
After the Seahawks' 27-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys last week in the third preseason game of 2016, head coach Pete Carroll said Jimmy Graham "looked great in pregame," when the former Pro Bowl tight end took part in "a ton of sprints" and catching drills as he continues to recover from offseason surgery on his knee.
"It's awesome," Sherman said of having Graham back on the practice field. "He looks good, he's moving smooth, I think he's going to be a big weapon for us. Obviously they're going to feed him as much as they can to get him back acclimated quickly. It's awesome to see him out there."
In training camp earlier this summer, Graham called out Sherman specifically as one of his Seahawks teammates who was in the training room encouraging Graham "every day" as he worked his way back to practice from the injury that ended his first season in Seattle early.
"He's a great guy, he has great energy," Sherman said of Graham, who the Seahawks hope to have ready for the regular season opener. "He's a fantastic man and a fantastic teammate, so just kind of make sure he understood that we're in his corner and that he had a lot of support from the team and his teammates and just try to put a smile on his face every day. I understand how tough rehab can be, regardless of where you are and who you are. It's a grueling process and a lot of self, going through a lot of things with yourself, looking at yourself in the mirror, wondering how you're going to recover, how you're going to move the same. Self-reflection. I just wanted to make sure he understood that we're with him either way and that he's going to be fine. He worked hard, he worked his tail off and it's really all kudos to him. He doesn't get back as quickly or as good as he did without all his hard work and dedication, and the training staff doing what they're supposed to do with him."
2. Seattle's "Playing Great Football" This Preseason
Through three exhibitions, Sherman said the Seahawks defense has "kept it simple" in matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, and Dallas Cowboys, games that see less time spent planning for each opponent and more time spent on evaluating talent on the back-end of one's own roster.
"We've felt good," Sherman said. "We're playing great football. We kept it simple, we didn't really put much in. We kept it as rudimentary as you could keep it. Guys ran around, guys hit, guys tackled well, it was good."
3. His Thoughts On Colin Kaepernick
Just like many other players and coaches have been asked around the NFL in recent days, Sherman shared thoughts on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the playing of the national anthem at games as a way to protest what Kaepernick feels is racial injustice in America.
"I thought it was interesting," Sherman said. "Obviously, what he meant to do was in a good place. He wanted to make a stand, anytime you don't stand during the national anthem people are going to criticize it. That's the unfortunate part of it, you can't ever stand against the flag and things like that, a lot of people sacrifice and things like that for it, but there is also a deeper meaning to what he did. He's talking about the oppression of African Americans in this country and that has been going on for a long time and I think a lot of the focus has shifted away from his message, and for some people rightfully so, to him taking a stand against the nation, etc, etc. I think there's also things about this nation that people needs to remember and take heed of and also acknowledge. This country is also the same country that had whites and colored signs on the bathroom. We're still in that country, we're still in that nation, and that need to be acknowledged and that needs to be changed. There's people with that mentality that still exist, and that needs to change. There are still people that treat people of color with subjectivity, they treat them a certain way, they categorize them. They put them in a category, in certain statistics that are put out there to make sure that police profile certain people in certain neighborhoods and that needs to change. There is some depth and some truth into what he was doing. I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it but every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book, then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off."
A follow-up question was asked about athletes like Muhammad Ali, one of Sherman's heroes, who at times took political stances that drew criticism, to which Sherman replied:
"Correct, correct like you said Muhammad Ali not going to fight the war. He sure was viewed very similarly in that time. As time went on, as people understood his message and what he was standing for, the feeling towards it changed. Obviously he's an American and he thinks America is as great as a nation as anybody else or else he wouldn't be living here I'm guessing. He also understands the trials and tribulations that he goes through as an African American man in this country. People say he has all this money so he doesn't deal with those problems. Well all the money in the world can't buy you freedom, can't change your skin color, can't get your family out of that. Not only do you have to deal with it but your family has to deal with it. Your kids have to deal with it and it's unfortunate and I think people need to take a step back and acknowledge that. Acknowledge that there were wrongs in this country. There were people getting hosed down in the street and dogs sicked on them for standing for what they believe in and that's unfortunate. And at the same time you have to honor your country. You have to believe. I think football is a tremendous asset but it could also be kind of a motto for what it means to be a team. Coach [Darrell Bevell] and I were talking earlier today. He's like ever since I was a kid, when I first started playing or coaching. When you play football you're not concerned about whether you're throwing to a black guy or a white guy or orange guy or Asian guy. You're concerned about getting the ball there, executing your job, winning. You're concerned about playing for the next guy, playing for your brother. I think that's something the nation can take from sports. The Olympics was also a great example of how different countries—everybody comes together. Nobody's sitting there saying I'm not going to run against this guy because he's black, white, orange, blue. They're running to compete for their nation to win. They don't care what color the people on their team are. They're supporting them. They're supporting their country and that's how it should be all the time regardless of circumstance. I think it'll be a long time before we get there but hopefully we're trending in that way."
Asked if he or anyone in the Seahawks locker room has discussed not standing during the national anthem, Sherman added: "I think some of the guys have talked about it. I haven't particularly been in those discussions, but I'm sure some of them, if it's going to happen, we do a national anthem every game so we'll see."
Check out the best photos from the Seahawks practice held at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday as the team prepares for the final preseason game of 2016 against the Oakland Raiders.