BY Art Thiel 06:30AM 06/10/2015

Thiel: Seahawks Sherman is healthy, sort of

More than four months after hurting his elbow against Green Bay and playing one-armed in the Super Bowl, the All-Pro CB declined surgery and is back at practice. But it’s a a new feeling.

Richard Sherman played one-armed in the Super Bowl. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

RENTON — Goofy hat worn during practice? Check.

Surprises as a father of a newborn? Check.

Insults returned to Jets DB Antonio Cromartie? Check.

After the frivolities traditional in a Richard Sherman presser, we worked down to the weightier stuff on a warm Wednesday afternoon: How bad was your left elbow injury in the Super Bowl?

“I could not fully extend (the arm),” he said. “I couldn’t really jam with my left hand like I would regularly. I couldn’t really wrap up with two hands, throughout the end of the NFC championship, throughout the Super Bowl.

“But you find a way. You just run in there and throw your whole body in there and hope they fall.”

Actually, the one-armed Sherman didn’t find a way. Nor did the rest of the Legion of Boom, giving up 14 fourth-quarter points to the Patriots after owning the final period in the NFL regular season as Lucy owned Charlie Brown’s kickoffs.

So much attention was sucked up by the black hole of the final misbegotten offensive play that little notice was paid to the fact that four DBs played hurt or were injured in the game.

Three came in hurt: CB Sherman and FS Earl Thomas (separated shoulder) were hurt in the NFC Championship. SS Kam Chancellor injured his left knee during the Friday practice before the Super Bowl.

In the run-up, Thomas and Sherman fibbed about their degrees of readiness. What choice did they have: Tell Pats QB Tom Brady, “Throw here, Tom — I’m hurt”?

Chancellor wasn’t available to media after he was injured, but he would have dodged too. In the game, nickel CB Jeremy Lane broke his arm and tore up his knee on the same play, an interception return. In addition, DE Cliff Avril was knocked out of the game in the third quarter because of a concussion.

All of the casualties were duly noted by Brady and coach Bill Belichick. In the span of 10 minutes of the fourth quarter in Glendale, covering 18 plays and two touchdown drives, Brady took the Patriots 76 yards in eight plays, then 64 yards in 10 plays. He completed 13 of 15 passes.

Nothing like that has happened to Seattle in the three years its defense has been the best in the league.

Naturally, the Seahawks can’t talk about injury consequences regarding a game outcome because it violates the unwritten protocol in all sports: Injuries are no excuse.

True. But they can be reasons.

Same was true a year earlier, when the Broncos Super Bowl team had multiple missing parts. But with a defeat of 43-8, no one dared suggest a healthy Bronco or two would have made a difference.

In February, the Seahawks, despite all, came up one play short of winning. Yet the coincidence of all the injuries to one unit remained ignored even by the principals.

“We didn’t talk about it,’’ Sherman said of his off-season conversations with teammates. “It was just one of those things. You look up at the end of the game and you’re like, ‘Wow, we kind of battled through this.’ . . . It’s never any excuses for us. We played as hard as we can. Unfortunately, they came out with the victory, and you’ve always got next year.”

No one disputed they played hard. But no one will speak to why they didn’t play as well as they had. Since they were still out on the field, the man-code says shut up.

Sherman is right about one thing: There’s always next year. They’re more than four months into it.

In that time, Sherman rested the arm, underwent multiple therapies and not that long ago began his first five-pound curls. He also decided to forgo surgery, particularly after finding out he would be out about nine months.

In the padless drills Wednesday, he looked like his old animated self, chasing would-be pass recipients without protection on the arm.

“My right arm is way — ” he said, then caught himself saying too much. “You can’t tell . . . maybe you can.”

He smiled sheepishly, his chiseled arms getting the 20-reporter stare.

“I’m not trying to put it in too many stressful positions,” he said, conceding a point that knowledgeable trainers know: After the first major injury, things are never quite the same.

“Apparently a lot of O-linemen get the injury and do just fine with it,” he said, sounding hopeful. But O-linemen don’t have make arm tackles on 250-pound tight ends.

Sherman has had his share of  bumps, bruises and strains, but never an injury where surgery was a realistic option. It’s new territory.

He’s persuaded he’ll be as good as new by fall. But avoiding stressful positions in football? If he manages that, he’ll have transformed the game.


  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    History will note that an interception cost the Hawks a chance to be repeat champions but with the defense handcuffed with all of the injuries it truly was so much more than that.
    Truth is we have seen Lynch stuffed plenty of times for no gain. Sometimes that happens multiple plays in a row. Lynch had his chance to score on 1st down. He didn’t. It apparently just wasn’t in the stars.
    Ultimately we will see a very hungry Hawks squad.Some of these guys will be playing for their future too and the time to win is now. I think if they are fortunate enough to get back for a third straight year they will be like a shark smelling blood. MeatLoaf once had a hit called 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I hope they have the chance to prove that.

    • art thiel

      Wasn’t in the stars. It was in the playbook. Pass was OK; just not that pass to that receiver.

      • John M

        Yep . . .

      • Jamo57

        I think a pass on that down with the time remaining and number of times outs was the right call. Offenses can really put them selves in a box on the goal line and become more predictable with each failed RB dive. I might have gone double tight end set and rolled Wilson out, but I’m just a beer-swilling fan and probably not taking into account how depleted at tight end they probably were as well. But targeting a special teams player was a little weak IMHO.

        But in addition to the more and more depleted defense, I had a premonition of disaster when the offense couldn’t extend the lead in the 3rd quarter after having two series to do that, or answer back after the first NE score. I felt at the time, the Hawks needed one more score to put it away and they had all the momentum. Failing to do so came back to bite them.

        There’s many things that went into the Hawks not being able to close it out. Going forward it will interesting, and perhaps a little scary, to see how much attrition is caused by the deep playoff runs of the past three years.

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          If Seattle rises above all of these elements and manages to even have a good season one should marvel. If they fulfill all of the expectations the media has put on them?Nothing short of a miracle. This article was about Sherman’s health and if he is right again that is great news for our defense. Their defense is going to have to play on the same elite level if they have aspirations of a parade in February.

    • jafabian

      So many people have said they expected Lynch to get the ball, even the Patriots have said that, I can see why Carroll did the call he did. I’m starting to wonder if Butler blew his assignment and just happened to be in the right place at the right time when he did his interception.

      • John M

        All of the above, but my 2 cents – pass should have gone outside with an option QB run. They have several variations that have worked a high percentage of the time in the red zone . . .

    • 1coolguy

      Bottom line: Wilson threw an interception.
      Dumb play call? Yes, yet he blew the throw.

    • whoKarez

      I suppose the only good thing that came out of the Super Bowl loss was that ‘hawk fans didn’t turn into Patriots fans. Kinda sickening how they behave and we were on the fast track as well.

  • notaboomer

    football is sick.

  • PokeyPuffy

    After Lane’s freaky Brady-pick-then-broken-arm sequence, Carrol should finally put in place a new policy re- picks in the opponents end zone: Knee down or face enormous fine. No reason to be taking picks out of the end zone, this kind of street ball happens way too much with the LOB. That turned out to be a big one in the SB

  • jafabian

    Haters gonna hate. If Sherman is such a poor CB why do all other CB’s compare themselves to him? Fact of the matter is the best QB’s in the league (Brady, Rodgers) didn’t test him. Mark Schlereth points out (as do others) that the Hawks superior cast makes it impossible to truly tell how good Sherman is. Well, the same could be said about Joe Montana, Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter. So he only plays one side of the field? Well, Junior only batted from one side of the plate. Is he any less of a hitter?

    If the Hawks end up dominating this season and Sherman doesn’t have to play full games due to big leads critics will say he can’t be that good because he doesn’t play full games. Cornerbacks have become the new divas of the NFL.