Seahawks’ Sherman: Thomas deserves player of the year

RENTON — With a league-high six interceptions, Richard Sherman is being touted by many as a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But if you ask Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback about that award, he’ll tell you he’s not even the defensive player of the year in his own secondary.

“I would have to give it to Earl (Thomas),” Sherman said when asked who would get his vote if he had one.

Sherman said the award should end up in Seattle one way or another considering the Seahawks have the league’s best record and their defense has given up the fewest yards and fewest points in the NFL this season — and you’d better believe he would gladly accept the award if it came his way — but if he had to choose between himself and Thomas, he’s going with his free safety.

“If there’s anywhere the defensive player of the year should be, it should be in Seattle, whether it’s myself or Earl,” Sherman said. “But I think Earl’s having a fantastic year, he’s leading the team in tackles, or I think Bobby (Wagner) might have just surpassed him this week, but he’s having a fantastic year. He’s flying around tackling everywhere, forcing fumbles, getting interceptions. I don’t think there’s anybody out there playing better defense. Our defense is No. 1 in the league. Usually the quarterback with the best record and the best receivers isn’t punished for that, so don’t punish one of the best players on the best defense. I think he should get it.”

Thomas is indeed second to Wagner on the team with 89 tackles, and is only one interception behind Sherman with five, and most importantly, his speed and instincts as a deep safety are a huge part of what makes Seattle’s defense work. Most people who follow the Seahawks closely would agree with Sherman that Thomas is the most important player on the defense, but it’s entirely possible that a good portion of the voters will see Sherman’s interception numbers, know his name because he is one of the team’s most visible players, and vote for him instead, perhaps leading to the two taking votes away from each other, thereby allowing someone else to win the award.

To date, two Seahawks have earned the league’s top defensive honor: safety Kenny Easley in 1984 and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who was so dominant in 1992 that he won the award on a 2-14 team.

Injury update

Right guard J.R. Sweezy appeared to be healthy when the week began, but started showing concussion symptoms midweek, the result of an injury that occurred in Sunday’s game at New York. As a result, Sweezy has been ruled out for Sunday, as has receiver Percy Harvin (hip), and linebacker K.J. Wright, who is recovering from foot surgery.

“He’s going through the protocol and did not make it, so we’ll keep him out,” Carroll said of Sweezy, Seattle’s only lineman to start every game this season. “It happened in the game, but we didn’t realize it was an issue until afterwards.”

As for who will replace Sweezy, Carroll wouldn’t say, telling reporters that they’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out. Carroll said Sweezy’s replacement will come from “the usual suspects,” a group that presumably includes rookies Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey, as well as Paul McQuistan, who has been splitting time at left guard with James Carpenter.

Cornerback Jeremy Lane, who was added to the injury report Thursday with an ankle injury, returned to practice Friday and is good to go, Carroll said. So too is backup running back Robert Turbin, who was another midweek addition to the report with a groin injury.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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