RENTON -- Richard Sherman will return to Seattle as a member of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday for his first game against his former team. The circumstances of his departure from Seattle still clearly remain a sore spot for Sherman.
Sherman was released by the Seahawks this offseason after he sustained a torn Achilles in a game against the Arizona Cardinals in November. Sherman, acting as his own agent, signed a free agent deal with the 49ers in March.
"You just expect after you’ve done so much for a franchise that they wouldn’t cut you when you’re hurt," Sherman said in speaking with Bay Area reporters on Thursday. "It’s kind of a respect thing more than anything. But they did so you have to roll with the business."
Sherman had spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Seahawks. He was named a first-team All-Pro three times during his seven seasons with the Seahawks and was selected to play in four Pro Bowls. His 32 interceptions from 2011 to 2017 led the league over that span. He assumed a starting job as a rookie in 2011 when Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant were sidelined by injuries. He started every game from that point forward until his torn Achilles in Week Ten of last season ultimately marked the end of his tenure with the franchise.
“I thought it was really sh---y to be honest with you, how it ended," wide receiver Doug Baldwin said of Sherman's departure. "I really would have liked for him to stay here and had an opportunity to finish his career with this organization but that’s part of the business. It doesn’t work out that way.”
Sherman was owed $11 million in salary for 2018 that the Seahawks saved by releasing him. It was set to be the final year of the contract extension in May 2014.
Sherman feels like the Seahawks should have accomplished more during their peak years when the defense is was a part of was such a formidable force. One Super Bowl victory wasn't representative of the team they had put together.
"One hundred percent," Sherman said of that belief. "Once it’s all said and done and everybody is done playing, people will be more disappointed with what could have been with such a talented group of players."
He also felt that the team had "lost their way" amid mistakes in personnel moves in the front office.
“When you make too many mistakes over a long period of time, you kind of dig yourself a hole,” Sherman told Sports Illustrated. “And then when you backtrack, you gotta make a bunch of rash decisions to try and fill the hole and hope that it holds up.”
Additionally, Sherman levied some criticism of quarterback Russell Wilson on Thursday.
Sherman said he and Wilson don't have much of a personal relationship and essentially boiled it down to them being a part of the same great team at the same time and not much else.
“It was a good time for the team. It was a good time for the organization," Sherman said. "They didn’t handle some things like I felt they should have. Like other guys felt like they should have. But it is what it is at this point."
A reporter then began to ask about Wilson and Sherman's knowledge of the type of player he can.
“You’ve seen through the years what Russell Wilson is capable of doing," a reporter stated as a preface to a question.
"Yeah, I’ve also seen him throw five picks in a game," Sherman retorted. "So you’ve seen what he’s capable of on both side of it. You understand that he can be defended, so you go out there and give your team your best shot.”
Wilson threw four interceptions in the team's NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers and was intercepted five times in a game at Green Bay in 2016. However, that willfully ignores Wilson's lifetime 186-61 touchdown to interception ratio and his 100.1 career passer rating which ranks second all-time behind only Aaron Rodgers.
Wilson, for his part, had nothing but praise for his former teammate.
"I have tons of respect for Sherm and how he plays the game," Wilson said on Thursday. "He’s going to be a Hall of Fame corner. He’s a guy that meant so much to our football team when he was here – just how many plays he made. ... To be able to go up against him in practice every day helped my career. Just helped build my understanding of the game and just confidence and everything else going on. It’s one of the best corners, it prepares you. I’m grateful for that."
Sherman has his criticisms of the Seahawks and a difference of opinion over how some of the last few years he spent in Seattle went. Some likely valid, some not. Even with the issues with the franchise, he says he anticipates being able to have a positive ongoing relationship with head coach Pete Carroll.
“I’m sure we’ll have some relationships at some point and talk. Pete was a good man, and a good coach and did everything he could for that franchise. I don’t have any ill-will towards him.”
As for Sunday, the Seahawks will get to experience what it's like to root against a team with Sherman at cornerback for the first time. Opposing fans loathed Sherman for his bravado and cockiness when he was with the Seahawks. They'll be on the flip side of that coin this weekend.
Safety Bradley McDougald returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's session with a shoulder issue. He was limited.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin also returned to limited participation on Thursday and said himself he's feeling the best he has since OTAs in May and June.
Safety Shalom Luani (quadriceps) and running back C.J. Prosise (abdomen) were new additions to the injury report.
Photo Credit: GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 21: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks congratulates cornerback Richard Sherman #25 and quarterback Russell Wilson #3 after they scored the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. The Seahawks won 35-6. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)