Seattle trying to avoid distractions about cornerbacks
RENTON, Wash. — Richard Sherman is at the center of what could be a massive distraction for the Seattle Seahawks as they try to keep hold of the last playoff spot in the NFC wild-card chase.
Yet the talkative cornerback said Wednesday that this week is the same as always, despite news leaking out of failed drug tests by Sherman and fellow starting cornerback Brandon Browner that could be a huge blow to Seattle's playoff chase.
"No, nothing different. It's not tough at all. It's just the same old routine for us regardless of what is going on," Sherman said. "You just go out there and play football. That's the good thing about the game, you can just go out there and play. You don't have to worry about nothing, and there is nothing to worry about in the first place."
Sherman spoke for the first time since news first broke saying he and Browner failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs and face possible four-game suspensions. The Seahawks expect the pair to play this week at Chicago while they work on their appeal to the league.
"The truth always comes out. You just go on about going on," Sherman said. "The process is going to play out how it's going to play out and when you know what you know, you just continue to be confident, continue to go out there and play."
Later Wednesday, after the Seahawks wrapped practice, the pair released a statement through the team saying they would not be commenting about the situation again until the appeal is completed.
"To allow our focus to remain on football, during the appeal process we will refrain from any further public comments regarding this situation," the statement said.
Browner's agent, Peter Schaffer, told reporters Monday night that Browner has no knowledge of how any illegal substances could have entered his system.
The team is limited in what it can say directly regarding the possible suspensions because of the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday said the issue was discussed and there would be no lingering hangover, whether it was from Seattle giving up 17 fourth-quarter points last Sunday at Miami, or all the attention on the possible suspensions.
"I feel like they have responded well, and we have talked about any issues that can come up, and those issues are no different than what everybody faces in that Chicago has six guys hurt. How do you deal with that? You have all of those issues that you have to deal with so you just take them on, face it up and go," Carroll said. "So right now whatever you're referring to is not an issue in our locker room."
Seattle fullback Michael Robinson, one of the Seahawks' players union representatives, said he was concerned that news of the suspensions leaked out before the appeal was heard and about how that could influence opinions.
"I think it puts the players in a compromising situation. I feel like the people that are hearing the appeals watch TV just like you and I and perception is reality," Robinson said. "If the media is driving a story that some players did something and it might not be true — who knows — I feel personally that affects the appeals process. I think it should be very, very confidential and no one should know about it until all the facts are out."
Browner and Sherman are key for the Seahawks defense. Browner was a Pro Bowl selection a season ago, and Sherman has quickly climbed the ranks of the elite cornerbacks in the league in just his second season. Their ability to play one-on-one, physical defense is largely why Seattle has the third-best pass defense in the NFL.
On a conference call Wednesday, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said he respected cornerbacks like Browner and Sherman because of their willingness to match up one-on-one against receivers.
"I love one-on-one coverage, so if they're going to do that then it's going to be fun out there," Marshall said. "This is what the NFL is about, man on man. All of this double-coverage, triple-coverage stuff, I don't really respect that or corners that hide behind a system, and these two guys don't hide behind the system. They want the target on their back and I respect them for it."
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