The Seattle Seahawks cut ties on Friday with star cornerback Richard Sherman Ito Smith Jersey
, who became one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks during his seven seasons with the team.
The team informed Sherman early in the day he would be released, and he confirmed the decision in a text message to The Associated Press. The move appeared to be building after he met with the team Wednesday to discuss his future. Sherman declined to comment after the meeting.
"Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle," the team said in a statement announcing the decision.
"We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a Hawk!"
Sherman was an overlooked fifth-round draft pick who went on to become a two-time All-Pro who helped anchor a defense that was the league's best for several years.
He will be 30 years old going into next season and coming off an Achilles tendon injury that cost him half of the 2017 season.
But the biggest reason for his release was financial. Sherman was due $13 million for the 2018 season and his release gives Seattle a salary cap savings of about $11 million. Sherman was released with a "failed physical" injury designation.
Sherman issued a statement later Friday thanking the Seahawks for "taking a chance."
"As this chapter comes to a close, I am looking forward to what the future holds," Sherman said.
Sherman became a star in Seattle, bringing a brash attitude and willingness to speak out on any topic to go along with his stellar play. His best seasons came in 2013 and 2014 when Seattle made two Super Bowl appearances and he has 32 interceptions.
This may not be an end for Sherman and the Seahawks, depending on what he finds in free agency. Seattle could be open to bringing Sherman back at a reduced salary.
Sherman was open to the idea of a new place to call home last offseason when Seattle engaged in trade discussions surrounding Sherman, but said his preference was to remain with the Seahawks.
What's still to be answered is how much of an impact the Achilles injury will have. Sherman has never been the fastest cornerback Kentavius Street Jersey
, often using his exquisite technique and smarts to make up for less than elite speed. But recovery from Achilles injuries can often be troublesome and Sherman also had a cleanup surgery on his opposite ankle during the offseason.
The questions about Sherman's health account for Seattle's position. The Seahawks don't want to be paying a premium price for a cornerback entering the final year of his contract with an injury concern. Seattle could be sacrificing something greater, though. Sherman has been a locker-room leader and mentor to younger players. Shaquill Griffin spoke regularly about Sherman's influence last year.
But it's clear the Seahawks are a team in transition, although it also remains to be seen how significant this makeover will be. Seattle already traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia for two late-round draft picks and a little-used wide receiver. Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril both have neck injuries, and it's uncertain if they'll play again. Earl Thomas said at the Pro Bowl he wants a new contract and may hold out. Seattle also released cornerback Jeremy Lane on Friday. The move with Lane will save Seattle $4.75 million against the salary cap in 2018.
About the only sure thing for the defense is the return of All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. General manager John Schneider, speaking at the NFL combine, called it a "constant puzzle."
"You're trying to put stuff together all the time," he said. "It's a big challenge."
Alex Smith is frustrating Josh Norman.
Norman likes having Smith with the Washington Redskins, but practice time against the veteran quarterback at training camp hasn't been as beneficial as the big-money cornerback had hoped. That's because Smith has been so on-point with his decision-making and throws that Norman isn't getting a whole lot of work in team drills.
"You're in great position, you get there top of the route, you're ready for your play to be made and it doesn't come," Norman said. "But the ones you are a little step behind on and you're almost there to make it Lawrence Guy Jersey
, he throws it. It's those games, cat and mouse, man. It's cat-and-mouse games that it just sucks when you're the mouse."
Norman feels like the mouse early in camp but hopes facing a QB like Smith each day benefits him in the long run. Entering the third season of a $75 million, five-year contract, Norman is balancing the lack of work he's getting during 11-on-11 time with his usual half-hour plus of individual drills after practice as one of the last players on the field.
"That's what you've got to do to be the best, to be great like him," said undrafted rookie safety Quin Blanding, who worked out with Norman following practice Sunday. "It just shows he wants extra work no matter all the work he's done in practice. It's always find ways to get better, and that's what he's doing."
Norman is known for his post-practice regimen, whether it's going for jump balls or catching in rapid succession out of a JUGS machine. But none of that compares to team snaps, where Smith is avoiding Norman the way he would in a real game.
"I'm just staying the course and trying to understand that your technique is not flawed Lyle Alzado Jersey
, continue to do what you do even though your chances are not coming," Norman said. "But when they do come, try to be better than the quarterback in making a play. He's so precise right now, so he's not making mistakes, and that's the biggest thing you've seen. Even in practice, he's not making mistakes. It's hard to try to key in on that."
Coach Jay Gruden approves. His offense is built around quick decisions and finding the right receiver to throw to, and that's not usually by challenging Norman.
"Josh is getting plenty of work," Gruden said Tuesday. "We're not going to throw a flat route out to Josh Norman and let him pick it. That's just common sense, so Josh is going to have to wait for somebody else to throw it to him."
Norman is still isolating elements of his game to work on at age 30, going into his seventh NFL season. He had no interceptions last year and dropped more than a handful of prime opportunities, so at practice he's working on the little things that turn a broken-up pass into a pick.
"Being in place is the first part Russell Bodine Jersey
, but finishing the ball should be something that already is established and ingrained in you," Norman said. "It's just that six inches from making a play to not making a play."
Trying to close the gap on those inches is what goes into Norman's extra work after practice. And in the process, he's helping young defensive backs like Blanding and Kenny Ladler develop the same kind of habits.
"You fix the mistakes and then when it comes again, you don't make the same mistake," Blanding said. "You've got to be ready to work no matter if it feels like a great day of practice or if it was a bad day of practice. You've got to put that aside and you've just got to work. You've got to keep on working, and that's what he does."
NOTES: RB Chris Thompson, who's recovering from surgery to repair a broken right fibula, took his first snaps in team drills Tuesday. ... LB Mason Foster was limited at practice by a strained stomach muscle. Authentic Womens Tre'Quan Smith Jersey