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Clayton: Richard Sherman, Seahawks do their best to put ESPN story to bed

Richard Sherman picked a perfect time to speak to the media, writes John Clayton. (AP)

The timing was perfect.

On the next-to-last day of minicamp practice for the Seahawks – heading into a six-week break until training camp – Richard Sherman talked to the media.

He had tipped off his position on the ESPN article about the supposed volatile Seahawks locker room last week in a USA Today piece, calling the anonymous sources in the locker room quoting in the story as cowards. But there no chance the lingering effects of the story would go away until Sherman spoke. So he talked for around 18 minutes, and his words were so important that teammates including Bobby Wagner and Michael Bennett came out to listen to them.

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“You can take one snapshot moment out of a practice of a team on their way to the Super Bowl and say, ‘Wow, there must be discord there,'” Sherman said. “‘Wow, they must be not going to the playoffs this year.’ But he (ESPN writer Seth Wickersham) 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 appreciate how great the team is.”

Pete Carroll stresses competitive practices. Those practices have allowed this team to be in five consecutive divisional rounds of the playoffs in the NFC. And no one is more competitive than Richard Sherman.

That competitiveness has allowed him to become one of the best corners in football. Unfortunately, sometimes it catches up with him. That’s why it was important for him to say that sometimes his competitiveness causes him to go over the top.

“I am a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of player, so I’m competitive as all get out,” Sherman said. “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. It has always been the case publicly, privately and elsewhere.”

Carroll has said some of Sherman’s troubles last year were self-inflicted. His yelling at coaches led to Sherman being shopped around in trade conversations. But he’s too valuable to the team to be traded.

Is the story behind the team? Probably not. If there is another Sherman blow up, the nation will remember what the ESPN article stated about the locker room.

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The one thing I think was cleared up after Wickersham’s story was the support for Russell Wilson. He’s 56-23-1 as a starter, and he’s never missed a start. He played through a high ankle sprain and a third-degree MCL sprain.

Bennett summed it up the best.

“I think Russell Wilson is a phenomenal human being, not just as an athlete but a leader in the community, the issues he’s dealing with, the things that he does, how he carries himself, the professional that he is, how he does everything for the organization,” Bennett said. “How he plays through injuries, and just him as a man. I think Russell Wilson is the perfect quarterback for our team. He’s a perfect leader. I think everyone on the team sees that.”

Bennett reinforces those thoughts, according to a source, in the locker room with his teammates. And Sherman reiterated his relationship with Wilson is “fantastic.”

“We’re teammates. It’s like a family,” Sherman said. “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.”

So the Seahawks head into the next six weeks at peace. That has to be a positive.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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