Salk: Making sense of Richard Sherman comments on Seahawks and their fans

Feb 1, 2022, 12:26 AM | Updated: 3:00 pm
Seahawks Richard Sherman Bobby Wagner...
Richard Sherman has a conversation with Bobby Wagner after a Seahawks-49ers game on Dec. 2, 2018. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

On a recent episode of The Richard Sherman Podcast from Pro Football Focus, the former star Seahawks cornerback had several things to say about the team and its fan base in a conversation with fellow former Seahawks Pro Bowler Cliff Avril, including points relating to coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner. Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle goes through Sherman’s comments in the column below.

There is no one quite like Richard Sherman. The perfect combination of smart, confident and delusional, and with no need whatsoever to remain consistent. It’s that combo that made him one of the best to ever play the cornerback position. And it’s also what makes him so dangerous to have around for too long.

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So let’s go through what Sherm thinks.

1. You aren’t good fans because you “hate” accountability.

What Sherman said: “I think at the end of the day, and Seattle fans are gonna hate to hear this because they hate accountability these days, but they’re probably going to get rid of Bobby (Wagner). And once you do that, that’s it. That’s it. You’re in a rebuild. I don’t care if Russell (Wilson) is there or not there, you’re in rebuild mode.”

Yes, you, the fans, hate accountability. This from a man who was arrested last summer (and we can certainly go through the report of the danger he caused to so many people around him) but was back on the field a few months later. This from a man who threatened to ruin the career of a member of the media, than denied it on SportsCenter despite us having the audio.

If accountability is important, let’s make accountability important. I don’t think Sherm needs to be judged by his worst day but saying Seattle fans hate accountability is particularly rich from a person who once threw a tantrum on the field after a busted coverage was blamed on him.

2. You had nothing before him and it ruined you.

What Sherman said: “These fans had never won anything before we got here. They had never won anything. They went to the Super Bowl in ’06 and were happy to be there, and that was their biggest claim. And then we get there, we win a Super Bowl, we spoiled them with historic defense and then all of a sudden that’s their expectation.”

“These fans.” Yes, he called you “these fans.” I have known for a while that Sherm hated me but I didn’t know he held you in such disdain!

Like Sherman, I wasn’t here in 2005 but I have to say, when I hear people complaining ad nauseum about the officiating in that Super Bowl, I’ve never come away with the impression any fan was OK with just being there.

Also, fans shouldn’t expect their team to be great? Wait, I thought these fans hated accountability? Because now it sounds like they want accountability but maybe the players don’t like that. Maybe I’m confused…

Related: Are Hawks fans’ expectations too high like Sherman says?

3. You can’t get rid of Bobby Wagner just like you wanted to get rid of us.

What Sherman said: “They’re like, ‘We got to get rid of these guys. They’re past their prime.’ … Like, ‘We’ve got to draft another All-Pro player.’ How many have you drafted? There hasn’t been another All-Pro corner since I left. To think that you can just replace and go on and think, ‘Oh, the Super Bowl should still be the expectation.’ No, it should not. You should lower your expectation substantially. … They were talking about (getting) rid of us and they were like, ‘We got replacements. We got LOB 2.0. And then you got rid of us and then you realize you don’t. You realize we were once in a generation talent and you should have kept it and appreciated it when you had it.”

Ah, here you go. This was obviously going to be the root of it. He is still upset that he isn’t here anymore. That’s fine, but a few things. First, with a salary cap system, the NFL doesn’t let you keep everyone so you have to make tough choices. Second, the Seahawks didn’t get rid of everybody from their Super Bowl run. They had to choose who should stay and who should go, and they chose Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor but both got hurt. Third, the issue wasn’t with who the Seahawks let go but with who they replaced them with.

I won’t deny that the Seahawks roster isn’t what it once was, but attempting to replace declining stars with a new generation is what we should want and expect from any team. The criticism should be with the execution, not the philosophy.

4. You can’t get rid of Bobby because you can’t replace him.

What Sherman said: “Even if Bobby is past his prime, (if) he’s three years past his prime, he’s better than everybody you (could) get in after him. He’s better than 85% of the middle linebackers in the league right now. And that’s what they don’t understand.”

I understand his loyalty to his friend and former teammate and I respect it, but it doesn’t make it true. This is the mentality of failure, and it’s literally the opposite of the mentality that he had when he came into the league. Remember, he was the guy going after four-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, saying that Revis was all reputation and his game was slipping.

The reality is that you can’t replace talent unless you actually try to do it. Sticking with someone that isn’t performing up to his expectation is just as big of a mistake as trying to find that next great player, and a young Sherm was well aware of this mentality whether he can remember that or not.

I wonder if he objectively watches Seahawks games and thinks he sees the same Bobby as he used to.

5. You can’t let Russ cook.

What Sherman said: “People were like, ‘Let Russ cook, let Russ cook.’ You did not win a Super Bowl letting Russ cook. You have not been anywhere close to a Super Bowl letting Russ cook. And you will not be close to a Super Bowl if you let him throw a 30-40 times a game because you’re stopping the clock. So your defense, your time of possession, your propensity to turn the ball over is going to increase. Your defense is going to be out there longer so they’re going to be more tired, they’re not going to be as effective. And unless you got some Hall of Fame, like, All-Pro player, they’re not gonna be able to stand up because you’re gonna be in shootouts.”

Finally, we agree! They did not win a Super Bowl by letting Russ cook. But let’s be clear, Russ wasn’t just along for the ride when the Seahawks did win a Super Bowl. If Sherman is insinuating it was all running game and any quarterback could have succeeded, well, that simply doesn’t seem accurate. But it would fit with the various anonymous quotes he likely leaked about his former teammate.

6. The Super Bowl should not be the expectation, and you can’t get rid of Pete or else it’s a rebuild.

What Sherman said: (In response to Avril saying “If change comes, guess what?) “Oh my god. You talk about a rebuild – they get rid of Pete Carroll, good luck.”

Oh boy. The logic here is reeeeeal fuzzy.

I think he’s saying you shouldn’t expect the team to win Super Bowls and you have to keep Pete or else you’ll be rebuilding. But also, you shouldn’t rebuild because you are good already. But you aren’t good enough to win Super Bowls. But that’s OK because you shouldn’t expect them. Only that doesn’t quite fit because you also hate accountability so you won’t want to hear this.

Well, I disagree. Fans should expect Super Bowls during the prime of elite QB’s careers, and all teams should be constantly pushing to find the quickest route to the Super Bowl. If you aren’t close, than you assess the best way to get there and act accordingly. And if Sherman isn’t interested in winning championships, then what is he even talking about? I’m not sure that is fully clear.

7. Now people want to get rid of Pete.

What Sherman said: “After one losing season – ‘fire him.’  Like, ‘reset.’ And I don’t think they truly understand what it was like before. I don’t think they remember because it’s been a decade of of greatness. It’s been a decade of winning, of a culture change, and now they’re like ‘Get rid of Pete.’ Like, ‘We’re tired. He’s predictable. We’re tired of the gum chewing.’ … He leaves, you’re gonna be tired of losing – immediately.”

Well, again we agree. Except one of us is able to say it without having bashed the guy on the way out the door. One of us didn’t insult him with the “kumbaya room,” or say his system was only for college, or the various other swipes he took on the way out the door.

He’s right, but maybe he could take accountability for the things he said and did before offering this opinion.

Oh, I forgot, it’s the fans who don’t like accountability. Riiiiiight.

More from Mike Salk: What is Pete Carroll’s takeaway from the NFL playoffs?

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Salk: Making sense of Richard Sherman comments on Seahawks and their fans