By John Boyle
The Seahawks have started preparation for their regular season finale against St. Louis, but they do so still not knowing if they’ll have one of their best players, cornerback Richard Sherman, available for Sunday’s game or the postseason.
Sherman, who on Friday had his appeal of a four-game suspension heard by the NFL, still hasn’t learned the result of that appeal. He’ll practice with his team today, and while ESPN has reported that Sherman will get word by Thursday, Sherman said he still doesn’t know when he’ll learn his fate from the NFL.
“No,” he said when asked if he knows the timeline for this process. “I don’t know much more than what you all know.”
So for now, the Seahawks practice with their best cornerback, but do so knowing he may not be available later in the week if his suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances is upheld. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who like Sherman said he does not know when the team will hear from the league, said he will do things a little differently Wednesday because of the uncertainty.
“Just a bit,” Carroll said. “Just a bit, in that we don’t know what’s going to happen, so we’re not going to go blindly into it. So we are going to get our guys in the rotation a little differently. It won’t change much though. He’s going to get some work today and the other guys will get work as well, but we have it in our minds. We have to be prepared for that.”
As he prepared for Wednesday’s practice, not knowing if would be his last for a while, Sherman was asked if this waiting game is weird for him.
“It’s not weird at all,” he said. “Either the truth is going to come out or it’s not, that’s pretty much all it comes down to… It’s going to be as normal as it always is. I’ll go out there and practice. Shoot, I’ll be happy if (Carroll) rotates more people in, I’ll get some rest. I have no problems with that. It’s going to be normal.”
A suspension for Sherman would make him ineligible to play in the Pro Bowl—rosters are announced at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon—but he said he isn’t worried about missing out on a trip to Hawaii.
“I don’t worry about that,” he said. ‘It don’t mean nothing. I bet you I’ll be on first-team All Pro. That means a lot more to me.”
Asked about the appeals process, Sherman repeated much of what he said after Sunday’s game—that the there were flaws in the testing process, but that that may not help him win his appeal.
“They don’t care if you took it or you didn’t take it, if the sample’s tainted or it isn’t tainted, they say it doesn’t matter,” Sherman said.
Sherman added, “They’re the judge and the jury.”
Sherman said if he loses this appeal, he likely doesn’t have other avenues to pursue that will keep him on the field, but that he’ll still try to do anything he can to fight and clear his name.
“I can’t get back playing regardless, I could just sue the league, and that’s what I’ll probably attempt to do if they suspend me,” he said. “… I’ll take it to a neutral court, because in a neutral court the playing field is even, and we’d win easily.
“I’ll definitely look into it, but hopefully they’ll just do the right thing and the truth will come out, and I’ll still be playing next week.”
According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Sherman did not make the Pro Bowl, but it was not because Sherman has been suspended, which would make him ineligible.
Richard Sherman did not make the Pro Bowl, per sources, but I’m told the PED rules are not relevant in this case.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 26, 2012
Breer followed that up by writing, “To be clear, all I’m saying on Sherman is that the PED rule on Pro Bowl berths didn’t apply to him. Voters may have used it as a reason.”
Not long after, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Sherman was third in fan voting, so his snub is likely the result of coaches and/or players not electing him, possibly because they used Sherman’s failed drug test as a factor in voting even though no ruling has yet been announced on his appeal.