49ers' Richard Sherman not sentimental about former Seahawks teammates

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SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman could have said something nice Thursday afternoon about his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks and 49ers will play each other Sunday in Seattle. This will be the first time Sherman will face the Seahawks, where he starred from 2011 to 2017. The Seahawks cut him during this past offseason after he tore his Achilles tendon.

On Thursday, Sherman met with Bay Area reporters to discuss the upcoming matchup with the Seahawks.

Sherman could have started by saying something nice about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who played with Sherman for six seasons. Those two won a Super Bowl together in 2014.

It started when a reporter mentioned to just how dangerous Wilson can be when he scrambles. Sherman could have agreed with the reporter and praised Wilson. No way. Sherman ripped Wilson. “I’ve also seen him throw five picks in a game,” Sherman said. “You see what he’s capable of on both sides of it. You understand that he can be defended.”

So much for loyalty to a former teammate.

“I don’t really have a relationship with Russell,” Sherman continued. “We were teammates, and we played during a very special time for the (Seahawks) franchise.”

Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon in Seattle, Wilson gushed about Sherman. “I have tons of respect for Sherm,” Wilson said, courtesy of Seahawks.com. “He is going to be a Hall of Fame corner. The thing I respect about Sherm more than anything else is how he brings it every day at practice, even when he’s hurt. He didn’t have to — he’s an All-Pro player. To be able to go up against him in practice every day helped my career, helped build my understanding of the game and confidence. I’m grateful for that.”

Back in Santa Clara, Sherman — Sherm — could have said something nice about his other former Seahawks teammates, who have surprised people this season by playing well without Sherman. They’ve won six of their past nine games.

Instead of saying something nice about his former teammates, Sherman said this: “I mean, they’re 6-5. It’s not like they’re 10-1. If they were that, I would be very surprised. They’re middle of the road. They’re fighting every game. They’ve won some close ones. They’ve lost some close ones. I would expect that.”

Or Sherman could have said something nice about Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who recruited Sherman out of high school at USC in 2006 and drafted Sherman in with a fifth-round pick in 2011.

Carroll graciously praised Sherman Wednesday morning during a conference call. “He has bounced back,” Carroll said, “and the numbers prove it, in terms of the targets and wins and all that. He is having a very successful season. Richard is a brilliant football player.

“I really cherish the time that Sherman was here. I really enjoyed working with him. He’s such a bright person and such a great competitor and extraordinary performer. When we got down near the time when we were parting, we were very straight up about what was going on. I felt like we had completed our time together in a sense, and it had been really profitable and fun.”

Instead of returning Carroll’s generous sentiment, Sherman suggested Carroll no longer can lead an NFL team or identify talented players.

“Just look at the draft classes we had early on and the draft classes they’ve had the past three, four, five years,” Sherman said. “The truth is the truth. I don’t have to make stuff up. People can take it how they want to.”

Sherman also said Carroll’s message to the Seahawks has become stale. Sherman’s critique seemed to bother Carroll, who defended himself. “Every year you have new people, so every year I had to go back and start over,” Carroll said. “When you do that, the message is repetitive. And if you really have a philosophy, it better be. If you believe in something, you’re going to stay with it. It’s a challenge for the learners, too, whether you’re a first-year learner or a seventh-year learner, to keep it fresh and stay curious. That responsibility is on everybody. It’s not just the coach.”

Sherman obviously feels bitter about the end of his time with the Seahawks. But, he said he’s not bitter simply because the Seahawks got rid of him. He’s bitter because of how they got rid of him.

“You just expect after you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you while you’re hurt,” Sherman explained. “It’s more of a respect thing than anything. They’ve rarely ever cut anybody while they were hurt. We hadn’t honestly seen that very often.”

Had the Seahawks waited until Sherman’s surgically repaired Achilles was healthy before releasing him, they would have had to pay him $11 million. Cutting Sherman when they did made financial sense for Seattle on the business side of football.

“Everything has to come to an end, though, at some point,” Sherman said. “It’s just unfortunate that it had to come to an end the way it did.”

When asked if he expects the Seahawks to test his coverage Sunday, Sherman grinned and said, “I hope so.”

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