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Seahawks release All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman

The Seahawks released cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday, news that was first reported by Gee Scott of KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

Sherman’s release follows reports from multiple outlets earlier this week alluding the organization and longtime cornerback parting ways.

Sherman spoke with Scott about his plans for free agency and his relationship with the Seahawks in an interview set to air at 7:15 p.m. (PT) on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

“We’ve had conversations and they’ve told me that they’re going to allow me to go into free agency,” Sherman told Scott in an excerpt from the conversation (see video above). “But they want me to understand that the door’s open for me to return. They’re just trying to do what they need to do to clear up space and give me and them the best chance at free agency, and I’ve got to appreciate and respect that.”

As for how he’d characterize his career in Seattle, Sherman said it feels “incomplete,” adding he believes he has years of playing time remaining and wanted to win more Super Bowls with the organization.

“Obviously, to the fans and to some of the people, it’s probably one of the more recognizable careers in a player’s history, in the history of the franchise,” Sherman said. “But I hold myself to a high standard and have a lot of years left in me. I want to win more Super Bowls with my organization, so it’s incomplete.”

Sherman shared a note on his Twitter account Friday afternoon to thank the Seahawks.

The Seahawks shared their own statement earlier in the day on the move.

Seattle drafted Sherman, 29, in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He has spent the entirety of his career in Seattle, where he recorded 32 interceptions, two touchdowns and 286 tackles. The four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro was also a member of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII and XLIX rosters.

Why release Sherman?

Releasing Sherman – who was the third-highest paid player on the Seahawks’ roster – gives the team an extra $11 million in salary cap room. Seattle currently sits in the bottom third of the league in available cap space.

Being released also gives Sherman a few days to test the market ahead of free agency, which begins Wednesday, March 14. The Seahawks appear willing to re-sign Sherman at a lower price if he does not land a big contract elsewhere.

Is this the end of an era for one of the NFL’s best defenses?

Sherman is coming off of surgery to repair a torn Achilles, an injury that ended his 2017 season in Week 10. However, he expects to return to the field by June, and his track record as a shutdown corner with 32 interceptions since 2011 will undoubtedly draw competitive deals from other suitors.

What does this mean for the Seahawks in 2018?

Unsurprisingly, the departure of Sherman – one of the most celebrated players in franchise history – has fans worried about what Seattle’s historically dominant defense will look like in 2018. The news comes on the heels of a trade that sent defensive end Michael Bennett to the Eagles, and weeks after safety Earl Thomas expressed his discomfort with his current contract.

Meanwhile, the futures of defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor are up in the air as both players work to recover from season-ending neck injuries.

Cliff Avril talks Michael Bennett trade, future with Seahawks

There’s still plenty of promise for a successful season: the Seahawks are developing young talent, with cornerback Shaquill Griffin and defensive tackle Nazair Jones coming off an impressive rookie debuts. And several veterans from Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning roster, including Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, remain under contract. On offense, quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin are set to return, and Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown will see his first full season with Seattle.

Still, 2018 will prove to be quite the test for a program seeing its biggest upheaval in the Carroll era.