Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks defends wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Failure to disclose a knee injury for cornerback Richard Sherman could result in a loss of a second round draft pick, according to Chris Mortenen of ESPN.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll revealed Monday in his weekly radio show that Sherman had been playing with a sprained MCL this season. Despite the injury, Sherman never appeared on the league mandated injury report due to the issue.
"Honestly, I didn't realize we hadn't revealed it," Carroll said. "I don't even remember what game it was, it was somewhere in the middle (of the season)."
While the loss of a second round pick would seem to be a harsh penalty, it would be because of Seattle's repeat offender status. The Seahawks were stripped of a fifth round pick this year due to a third violation of the league's offseason rules regarding contact in practice.
Carroll said the injury was similar to the one suffered by quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers. While Wilson was on the injury report for over two months, Sherman only appeared for one week. An ankle injury was listed prior to Seattle's Week 12 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I don't know," Carroll said when asked why Sherman was never listed on the reporter. "I'm feeling like I screwed that up with not telling you that because that happened, but he was OK. So I don't know. He never missed anything, which is probably why."
NFL league policy states: "The Practice Report is expected to provide clubs and the public an accurate description of a player's injury status and his level of participation during the practice week. All players who have significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the Practice Report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media."
Per those guidelines, the Seahawks violated the rules by not listing Sherman on the report. Carroll himself called the injury "significant."
Sherman was frequently listed on the injury report late in the season as he received days off for rest. However, those absences were termed "not injury related."
If Seattle was to lose its second round pick due to the Sherman situation, it would be an elevation of the penalty for the offseason workout violations. The Seahawks would get their fifth round pick back while losing the second round pick instead, per Mortensen.
"He never missed anything. Just like Russell never missed anything. Tyler (Lockett)," Carroll said. "They all happened over the course of the season and they all just made it through it. They never complained, they didn't want to miss a practice and they basically didn't miss anything. But they were legit, those were legit injuries, they showed up in the whole thing. That's a challenge. Guys all over the league are going through the same thing, but our guys just happened to be doing it as well."
Carroll seemed to disclose the injury to Sherman as a way of explaining why Sherman had such a disruptive season. While still very good, Sherman didn't make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro teams this year for his play on the field. His sideline outbursts toward coordinators Kris Richard and Darrell Bevell also cast a large shadow over the team, particularly after his Week 15 rant toward the coaching staff for throwing from the 1-yard line against the Los Angeles Rams.
In trying to soften reaction to one of his star players, Carroll may have opened the door to be docked a significant draft pick. The pick in question is the 58th overall selection.
For a team with real holes to fill, losing a second round pick for failure to accurately handle the injury report would be a major and unnecessary blow.