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O’Neil: Think Richard Sherman is toning it down? Think again

Former Seahawk and current 49ers CB Richard Sherman sounded off on the NFL's new rule. (AP)

I didn’t see what Richard Sherman Tweeted about Seattle’s decision to release Kasen Williams on Saturday.

That’s because Sherman blocked me over the offseason.

I did hear about his reaction, though, as the cornerback stated there was no basis for Seattle’s decision not to keep Williams on the 53-man roster.

So much for the thought that Sherman might perhaps reel in his emotional reaction to the decisions of his bosses after an offseason of unrest. In fact, if he’s this straightforward in speaking (or in this case tweeting) his mind on a decision about the team’s sixth receiver, we very well might be witnessing Richard Sherman: Unplugged this season.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Sherman is certainly not alone in wondering what the heck the Seahawks were doing by releasing Williams. In fact, I think he’s right about this issue specifically. For all the talk about Tanner McEvoy’s special-teams value and blocking proficiency or Amarah Darboh’s potential, it’s hard to reconcile Williams’ release with the production he has had over the past month.

As for whether a player should be publicly questioning the judgment of his bosses online, well, I’m not much for telling players what they should be doing. Sherman has every right to use the tools that are at his disposal to communicate his perspective and he’s choosing to do so.

What’s most important about his reaction to Saturday’s roster cuts is that it shows pretty clearly that Sherman is going to continue to use those tools to communicate his opinions, which is interesting to anyone wondering whether he would be more reserved after his in-game critique of Seattle’s offensive play-calling against the Rams last season. Then again, maybe it’s a sign of progress that Sherman was voicing his opinion on the internet instead of shouting it on the sideline.

The Seahawks under Pete Carroll have shown they cannot only tolerate but thrive amidst the tension that other coaches might deem insubordination. This is a team that watched one receiver (Percy Harvin) tackle another receiver (Golden Tate) during a practice walk-through and then go out and win the Super Bowl by 35 points.

During Marshawn Lynch’s final two years in Seattle, his relationship with Carroll and the front office wasn’t testy so much as it was outright frigid. That didn’t stop the Seahawks from getting back to the Super Bowl and then signing Lynch to a contract extension after doing so.

The difference this time is Sherman’s willingness to make his differences in opinion public. That’s what made his opinion on Williams’ release so interesting. Not whether he’s right about this issue (though I think he is). And not whether he’s got the right to say those sort of things (he certainly does).

The fact that Sherman will say those kind of things publicly about a preseason decision about the sixth receiver makes you wonder what he’s going to say about the really important stuff later this season.