By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
(One of the great things about working for Our Turf football is we don’t require writers to turn off their emotion when writing. We ask them to be objective, fair, and respectful, yet we never ask them to stop loving their team. Today I’m writing purely from a fan’s point of view. Indulge me, if you will. -DO)
In the mind, it makes sense.
Logically, one can see why the Seattle Seahawks needed to let veteran, Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman test free agency. The Seahawks were desperately needing some cap space. Sherman, now 30 years old, is coming off two Achilles tendon surgeries. My mind gets it. My heart, however…
Last season the Seahawks made it well known that they were listening to trade offers for Sherman. It’s not like fans didn’t know this was a possibility. No team can keep all their stars no matter how much they would like to.
But even knowing this, preparing myself for it for over a year, I wasn’t ready for today. I wasn’t ready for the thought of Sherman anywhere but Seattle. I’m not going to lie, there may have been a few tears shed.
Let me tell you a story.
It was preseason 2012. The Seattle Seahawks were in Kansas City. The big stories of the game was a rookie named Russell Wilson was going to start his first NFL game, and Pete Carroll was giving some guy named Terrell Owens a 2nd shot at the NFL. I’ll admit watching Wilson steal the starting QB job, and seeing Owens play again was thrilling, but it wasn’t why I was there. I was there to see Sherman.
I’d become a fan the previous year. I’m a lover of defense and I adored the swagger and fight he played with. His body type didn’t fit a corner, but his ferociousness did. They didn’t sell Sherman jersey’s yet, so I had a shirt made especially for that game.
He wasn’t super famous yet. There hadn’t been a “You mad bro'” moment with Tom Brady. Just a player that caught my eye as someone who had “it”. He was going to be big, you could feel it.
Due to what could have been a bit of pregame pestering on social media, or the fact that I sent my son down to the sideline to yell and beg him to sign it, or because he is always amazingly kind to his fans, Sherman signed my shirt. Yeah, I loved that day.
As I began to write about the team, I saw more and more how he, and the rest of the Legion of Boom, impacted a team that I had watch struggle for so long. I don’t need to go over his stats because you already know how good he is. It’s undeniable. As a writer and fan of the game, I loved watching him play…but I love watching a lot of players. It was what he did off the field that made me a fan of the man.
From the Blanket Coverage Foundation, where the Sherman family supplies low-income children with school supplies and more, to his vocal stances on social issues, to how he has mentored and inspired younger football players, Richard Sherman has proven that he is way more than a great football player.
He MAY let competitiveness get the best of him sometimes. His passion has, at times, come across wrong and he MIGHT have said a few things that weren’t the most tactful. None of that can overshadow what he has done on and off the field.
Now to some of the questions I’ve been asked on Twitter.
Do I think it was time for Seattle to let him move on?
Personally, no. Truly I don’t think they will be able to replace him with a player near his caliber and Seattle should prepare for a large drop in production on that side of the field. However, I’m not paid to make those decisions. It’s way above my pay grade.
Do I think him being cut had anything to do with politics?
Absolutely not. That would go against everything I’ve seen and heard from the Seahawks over the last 10 years. It’s not who they are.
Do I think they had to choose between Sherman and future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas due to the salary cap?
Sadly, yes. And even though it hurts my fan heart to say it, I think they picked correctly.
I know many think Russell Wilson is the face of the franchise, and that may be true, but Richard Sherman was the heart of the
team. Still, all these hours later, I can’t wrap my head around him not being on the field with the team come September. Now I know there is still a sliver of hope he may return and that would be a joyous day for me as a fan.
But, for now, I have to say…
No matter the jersey color, no matter the team name, I will forever be the biggest fan and staunchest defender of Richard Sherman. Whichever team he lands with, you are the luckiest team out there.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG