RENTON Richard Sherman wore a white floppy bucket hat — while covering Doug Baldwin stride for stride down the sideline.
How’d it stay on over his braided, flowing hair?
“The aerodynamics of it are very unique,” Sherman deadpanned, rolling his hands over both sides of the hat. “I try and sort of keep the science of it to myself.”
That’s how relaxed the vibe felt Tuesday at the Seahawks’ eighth of 10 organized team activities.
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Yet Sherman being Sherman, he still made news.
The outspoken All-Pro cornerback outed teammate Michael Bennett’s ongoing absence from these voluntary practices as merely a kinda-sorta protest for not getting a raise.
“Yeah, Mike Bennett? Mike Bennett’s in the building,” Sherman said, standing a couple feet outside the team’s Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “He just doesn’t come out (for practices).
“He puts on a big persona. But he’s here.”
Then someone asked if he’d heard the comments last week from Antonio Cromartie. The New York Jets cornerback said Sherman, who has the most interceptions in the NFL (24) since 2011, isn’t one of the league’s top cornerbacks because he mainly stays on the left side of Seattle’s defense. Cromartie said Sherman should shadow the opponent’s best receiver all over the field.
“That,” Sherman said Tuesday, “was unfortunate.
“You would think after me helping him get a Pro Bowl bid … We went to the Super Bowl and he wouldn’t have made it to the Pro Bowl otherwise. And now he’s talking bad.”
Cromartie played for Arizona last season. He was an alternate on the NFC team for the Pro Bowl. He ended up playing in the all-star game because first-team Pro Bowl pick Sherman and his Seahawks were too busy in Arizona preparing to play Super Bowl 49 seven days later.
Sherman rarely switched sides to follow receivers last season, when Seattle’s opposite cornerbacks kept getting injured. But that’s not the scheme the Seahawks’ top-rated defense — which prides itself on “everybody doing his job” — prefers.
“How many great left tackles do you see switching to the right side because a great D-end switches to the right side? You don’t see it,” Sherman said.
“Great players stay on their side and do what they’re supposed to do. How many guys have you seen switching from side to side on a No. 1 defense? You’ve never seen it. We’re the No. 1 defense for a reason. Who coaches a No. 1 defense to be worse?
“We’ve led the league in scoring defense three years in a row. We must be doing something right … If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.”
As for Cromartie, Sherman said: “I guess when you are doing something great you are will always have naysayers. … They have to have something to give themselves credibility somewhere.”
It wasn’t even full-go Sherman. He seemed reserved in his retort, almost bemused.
A lot has happened to the Seahawks’ $10 million cornerback for 2015 since he played February’s Super Bowl with one arm. He tore ligaments in his left elbow when teammate Kam Chancellor slammed into him during the NFC Championship in late January.
Sherman said it took a month of rest following that game to heal the elbow enough to begin training again. So he avoided the Tommy John surgery he initially feared he would need.
“I was relieved. I mean, I knew I wouldn’t have to throw a left-hand fastball so I thought there was a chance I could avoid it,” he joked. “I started taking opinions from different players and apparently, a lot of O-linemen get the injury and they do just fine with it. So I felt confident that I would be able to play without getting the surgery and just rehabbing.”
But, yeah, he laments his dream of throwing “a 99-mile-per-hour fastball left-handed” are gone.
Sherman said the final decision on whether to have the surgery came down to “the timeline. The surgery, I think, was nine months (of recovery), or something like that. And I wasn’t going to be out of ball for nine months.”
That would have meant missing perhaps the first three games or more of the 2015 season.
Instead, Sherman said he won’t be limited at all this year, not even in training camp that begins at the end of July.
“No, no,” he said. “Hopefully I am limitless. Like the (2011 Bradley Cooper) movie.”
While he rested his wing, Sherman became a father for the first time. His girlfriend Ashley Moss had baby boy Rayden on Feb. 5, four days after the Seahawks’ last-second loss to New England in Super Bowl 49.
How has that changed Sherman?
“It’s changed my hours of operation,” he said with a grin. “You pretty much open for whatever hours he wants to get up and scream. It just gives you a different perspective.
“Obviously, more patience. More understanding. Getting excited for things like a laugh, a smile. Him turning himself over by himself, him finding a way to kick and try to crawl but still lying on his face somehow. It’s just a different kind of joy.”
He’s also learned a new kind of coverage: getting that new diaper on “quickly,” he emphasized.
“There’s a real danger there,” he said of an unencumbered infant.
Sounds like a man who turned a wise old 27 in March.
Paul Richardson continued his remarkable comeback from shredding his knee five months ago. The team’s second-round draft choice in 2014 fielded kickoffs and jogged back upfield with the ball at the start of practice. He did not appear to be limping.
Richardson had his second anterior cruciate ligament tear in less than three years during January's playoff win over Carolina. Him jogging in drills Tuesday came weeks after coach Pete Carroll said there was a chance Richardson will be ready for training camp.
That would be remarkable. Then again, Richardson was back running three months after his first tear of his anterior cruciate knee ligament, in the spring of 2012 while playing for the University of Colorado.
TARVARIS JACKSON EXPECTED TO RETURN
A league source confirmed to The News Tribune veteran free agent Tarvaris Jackson is expected to re-sign with the Seahawks in the next couple days to be Russell Wilson’s backup for the fourth consecutive season.
Fox Sports first reported the agreement Tuesday.
Jackson turned 32 in April. He visited Miami while an unrestricted free agent for the last three months. He was 7-7 as Seattle’s starter in 2011, the season before the team drafted Wilson in the third round and immediately made him its starter.
It was mix-and-match day for the offensive line.
Drew Nowak, the fourth-year veteran signed as a free agent last year, got the most work as No. 1 center; he was snapping left-handed. Lemuel Jeanpierre, the No. 1 center most of this spring, got time as the second right guard behind J.R. Sweezy. Sweezy alternated with rookie Mark Glowinski. Alvin Bailey was the first left guard, rotating with rookie Terry Poole.
The offense had four false-start penalties and a dropped snap by Nowak to Russell Wilson in its own end zone. At that point, WR Doug Baldwin called his mates around him and yelled for them to get it in gear.
Yes, Baldwin even gets angry in June.