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Report: Seahawks to release star cornerback Richard Sherman

Report: Seahawks to release star cornerback Richard Sherman

The Seattle Seahawks are cutting ties with star cornerback Richard Sherman, who became one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks during his seven seasons with the team.

The team informed Sherman on Friday he will be released, and Sherman confirmed the decision in a text message to The Associated Press. The move appeared to be building after he met with the team Wednesday. Sherman declined to comment after the meeting.

Sherman was an overlooked fifth-round draft pick who went on to become a two-time All-Pro who helped anchor a defense that was the league's best for several years.

He will be 30 years old going into next season and coming off an Achilles tendon injury that cost him half of the 2017 season. But the biggest reason for his release was financial. Sherman was due $13 million for the 2018 season and his release gives Seattle a salary cap savings of about $11 million.

The Seahawks are expected to make an announcement Friday. Sherman is expected to be waived with an injury designation because of the Achilles injury.

Sherman became a star in Seattle, bringing a brash attitude and willingness to speak out on any topic to his stellar play. His best seasons came in 2013 and 2014 when Seattle made its two Super Bowl appearances and he has 32 career interceptions.

This may not be an end for Sherman and the Seahawks, depending on what he finds in free agency. Seattle could be open to bringing Sherman back at a reduced salary. Sherman was open to the idea of a new place to call home last offseason when Seattle engaged in trade discussions surrounding Sherman, but said his preference was to remain with the Seahawks.

What's still to be answered is how much of an impact the Achilles injury will have. Sherman has never been the fastest cornerback, often using his exquisite technique and smarts to make up for less than elite speed. But recovery from Achilles injuries can often be troublesome and Sherman also had a cleanup surgery on his opposite ankle during the offseason.

The questions about Sherman's health account for Seattle's position. The Seahawks don't want to be paying a premium price for a cornerback entering the final year of his contract with an injury concern. Seattle could be sacrificing something greater, though. Sherman has been a locker-room leader and mentor to younger players. Shaquill Griffin spoke regularly about Sherman's influence last year.

But it's clear the Seahawks are a team in transition, although it also remains to be seen how significant this makeover will be. Seattle already traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia for two late-round draft picks and a little used wide receiver. Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril both have neck injuries, and it's uncertain if they'll play again. Earl Thomas said at the Pro Bowl he wants a new contract and may hold out.

About the only sure thing for the defense is the return of All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. General manager John Schneider, speaking at the NFL combine, called it a "constant puzzle."

"You're trying to put stuff together all the time," he said. "It's a big challenge."

Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis

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USATSI

Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper thrilled the home crowd and surely made his father proud, winning the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night with an exceptional display of power that carried him past Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18.

Harper hit the contest-winning blast in extra time, the reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during the 4 minutes of regulation. After he connected with the game winner, the Washington Nationals slugger threw his bat in the air and pointed both index fingers toward the sky as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.

The six-time All-Star arranged to have his dad, Ron, pitch to him in the annual contest on the eve of the All-Star Game. Harper responded with a performance that drew the loudest cheers of the night at Nationals Park.

It’s been a trying season for Harper, who’s hitting only .214 for the disappointing Nationals. He won a contest that many sluggers avoid, fearful it might wear them out and throw them off.

Harper can only hope this helps him get back into the swing.

The 2015 NL MVP beat Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Max Muncy of the Dodgers before trumping the fifth-seeded Schwarber, who put the pressure on with a solid outing before Harper stepped to the plate.

Wearing a headband that resembled the District of Columbia flag and displaying a right sleeve with stars and stripes, Harper trailed 18-9 with 1:20 left before rallying. He homered on nine of his last 10 swings before entering extra time.

Hours before the session, Harper spoke excitedly about having his dad pitch to him in the contest. The 25-year-old said his father “worked his tail off every single day to provide for me and my family” and “now being able to have him throw to me in a big league ballpark is the cherry on top.”

Harper advanced to the final with an astonishing spree of long-ball hitting. He trailed Max Muncy of the Dodgers 12-4 with 2:20 left, then peeled off six homers in 47 seconds before calling a timeout.

Harper returned to hit three more home runs in 22 seconds, the last of them inside the right-field foul pole.

The semifinal matchup between Schwarber and Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins was a thriller. After stunning top-seed Jesus Aguilar of Milwaukee in the opening round, the eighth-seeded Hoskins ripped 20 long balls to put the pressure on Schwarber.

Using a late surge, Schwarber pulled one ball after another over the right field wall to squeeze out a 21-20 victory — by far the highest-scoring matchup of the night.

The fans dutifully cheered most home runs during the first round, but they saved their loudest cheers for Harper, the last player to step to the plate.

After Freeman hit 12 home runs over the 4-minute span, Harper unleashed six shots of at least 440 feet and secured the victory with a drive to center long before the clock expired. As the ball cleared the wall, the left-handed hitting Harper walked out of the batter’s box and thrust both arms in the air.

Freeman was the oldest player in the field at 28, and the first Braves participant since Andruw Jones in 2005.

Milwaukee’s Aguilar, the NL home run leader at the break, was eliminated in the opening round by Hoskins 17-12.

Aguilar hit too many balls to straightaway center, where the wall stands over 400 feet from the plate. Hoskins pumped most of his drives into the left-field seats, where it’s 336 feet down the line.

The most thrilling first-round match featured a near buzzer-beater by Houston’s Alex Bregman, who fell to Schwarber 16-15. The difference was the pair of homers that Schwarber hit during 30 seconds of extra time, the reward for hitting two long balls of at least 440 feet.

Bregman — the lone AL representative — appeared defeated with a minute left, but he mounted a late surge and lost when his final swing produced a drive that landed at the base of the center-field wall.

Muncy advanced by defeating No. 6 seed Javier Baez of the Cubs, 16-15. Baez hit the longest shot of the Derby, a 479-footer.

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

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AP

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

Green Bay Packers quarterback (and former Cal Golden Bear) Aaron Rodgers is known for his downfield accuracy. 

Rodgers has three successful Hail Marys to his name. The first, on Dec. 3, 2015 against the Detroit Lions, kept his team's playoff hopes alive. Another, on Jan. 16, 2016 against the Arizona Cardinals, sent the Divisional game to overtime, and a third came en route to a Wild Card game win against the New York Giants on Jan. 8, 2007. 

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, Rodgers added another notch to his belt.

His latest effort won't be confused with the other three, but it's not like any of those receivers landed in a body of water, either. 

The real question? Whether or not that's a catch under the NFL's new rules.