SEATTLE --The Seattle Seahawks released stalwart cornerback Richard Sherman Friday, in a much-expected but still franchise-shifting move. The Hawks also released CB Jeremy Lane.
NFL Insider Adam Schefter broke the Sherman news early Friday.
A short time later, Sherman tweeted his resume. He also spoke on 710 ESPN Seattle, saying "the team is allowing me to go into free agency."
He told 710 ESPN Seattle the Hawks did say "the door is open for me to return." The move was made for the team to clear up cap space, Sherman said.
And hours later, Sherman tweeted his thanks to the Seahawks organization, his teammates and the fans.
Sherman's release was widely predicted earlier this week, with the Seahawks reportedly exploring trade options for Sherman prior to his release. The cornerback was reportedly telling Hawks teammates goodbye for days.
Earlier this year, Sherman said he hoped to be back with the Seattle Seahawks as he entered the final year of his four-year, $56-million contract. The cornerback also revealed that he’s been acting as his own agent for the last year.
In January, we learned that Sherman needed another surgery — this time to clean up bone spurs in his other ankle. He was already recovering from a ruptured right Achilles during a November game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Sherman’s mom Beverly seemed to confirm the news in a Facebook post earlier this week, but she later deleted it.
Later in the day Friday, the Seahawks made the move official.
End of an era
Sherman, a Stanford graduate, was selected by the Hawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
After starting 10 games his rookie season, the cornerback rose to national prominence in 2012, helping the Hawks to a road wildcard win over the Redskins. He led the team with eight interceptions that year, and cemented the Legion of Boom as a national force.
But perhaps it's the 2013 championship season that Sherman will be most remembered for.
Sherman racked up eight interceptions throughout the season. In one of the final plays of the NFC Championship game against the rival San Francisco 49ers, Sherman tipped a ball thrown by Colin Kaepernick in the end zone to Malcom Smith, saving the game.
The play became known as "the Immaculate Deflection" or "theTip," and catapulted the Hawks into the Super Bowl, where they took down the Denver Broncos, 43-8.
Sherman would continue his dominant run, being named to four straight Pro Bowls until his injury last season.
Seahawks also release Lane
On Friday, the Seahawks also confirmed they had released Lane, 27, who was drafted by the Hawks in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
On March 9, 2016, Lane re-signed with the Seahawks on a four-year contract, but he lost his starting cornerback job last season. On October 30, 2017, Lane was traded along with two draft picks to the Houston Texans for offensive lineman Duane Brown. However, he failed his physical and was returned to Seattle.
Lane was arrested in January for DUI.
Releasing Lane will save Seattle $4.75 million in salary cap space.
More offseason changes coming?
Last week, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said no player on the roster was untouchable in a trade scenario.
In an interview with Q13 Sports Editor Aaron Levine at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Schneider said potential players and trades are talked about all the time.
“I think it would blow people’s minds … the things we talk about,” Schneider said. “It’s just part of the process. Is it something that’s completely real or not real? I don’t know yet. People ask us about players and we ask other teams about their players.”
Asked if this is the most challenging off-season because of the tight salary cap for the Seahawks, he said, “Yeah, yeah. It means you’ve had a lot of good players. If you have a lot of cap room, that means you’re probably picking pretty high (in the draft) and we don’t want that.
“But it’s a challenge,” he said of the salary cap limitations. “We’re going to be aggressive and competitive (in free agency) as we’ve always been.”
NFL free agency and trading starts March 14.