Richard Sherman

Quinton Dunbar draws comparisons to ‘a young Richard Sherman’

Quinton Dunbar draws comparisons to ‘a young Richard Sherman’

When the Seattle Seahawks acquired Quinton Dunbar in a trade with the Washington Redskins last week, the team got more than a veteran cornerback in the deal.

Former Redskins defensive backs coach Ray Horton says Dunbar resembles a Seahawk of the past, who was a catalyst in Seattle’s most successful run in sports history.

“To me, it would be Richard Sherman,” Horton told Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. “Because of his style of play, the hands, the anticipation, the (being a) former wide receiver, the competitiveness. Really that’s what you are getting is a young Richard Sherman. And this kid is hungry. He wants to be good.”

Dunbar played wide receiver in college at Florida, before making the switch to corner when he became a pro. Sherman, on the other hand, made the shift while in college at Stanford. The two also share similar body types. Dunbar is 6’2” with 32” arms, while Sherman is 6’3” with 32” arms.

Sherman went from former fifth-round pick to a five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Seattle Seahawks.

Dunbar, an undrafted free agent, landed with the Redskins and carved his role as a full-time starter, before a hamstring limited his season to just 11 games in 2019. He recorded four of his nine career interceptions last season.

“He’s a joy to work with,” Horton said. “He works hard, he pushes himself, and he pushes his teammates. But there’s nothing wrong with that kind of a player. You want that kind of a player.”

“You are getting that type of player – they are going to love this kid.”

Dunbar says he’s admired Sherman and the Legion of Boom secondary for years.

“Man, I know everything about them. I grew up, I was still in college watching those guys,” Dunbar told 710 ESPN. “I wasn’t a DB at the time, but the Legion of Boom, watching Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, who, when I made that transition, I watched a lot of film on Richard Sherman and things of that nature. I know they’ve got great history there and I’m just looking forward to being part of that secondary and helping out all I can.”

While Sherman and Dunbar share a number of similarities, Dunbar will set to carve his own legacy in Seattle. He’ll start by competing with Tre Flowers for the Seahawks starting job in the secondary.

This is the only way to celebrate Richard Sherman’s birthday

This is the only way to celebrate Richard Sherman’s birthday

Richard Sherman has had a lot of legendary moments in his 32 years of life. 

Graduating high school with a 4.2 GPA, helping lead the Stanford Cardinal to a 12-1 school record, being selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, becoming the NFL interceptions leader, being named to five Pro Bowls, and winning a Super Bowl championship, all likely made the list. 

But there’s one unforgettable moment we want to celebrate on Sherman’s 32nd birthday and it doesn’t involve him in a San Francisco 49ers uniform. 

In the 2013 NFC Championship game, Sherman tipped a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone leading to an interception in the final minute. This crucial play helped the Seahawks seal the win over the 49ers and Seattle went to Super Bowl 2014. 

[RELATED: Five throwback Seahawks games to watch on NFL Game Pass]

Then, the magic happened. 

Sherman took to the sideline for a live postgame interview with Erin Andrews and proceeded to scream into the camera about how he’s the best cornerback in the NFL and 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree should never try him. 

"I'm the best corner in the game," Sherman said. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me."

Sherman was ripped on social media for the interview following the game, but these are the moments we live for. 

Now 32, Sherman has not only proven he’s one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks over the past decade, but perhaps ever. His shutdown defense on the perimeter is untouchable and the fact that he received another All-Pro nod in 2019, shows he’s still got a lot more in the tank. 

Happy Birthday, Sherman, and thank you from sports fans everywhere. 

Former Seahawk and NFLPA VP Richard Sherman won't back down from arguing against 17-game season

Former Seahawk and NFLPA VP Richard Sherman won't back down from arguing against 17-game season

Super Bowl LVI is just two days away from showcasing the two top teams in the league: the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

During the week, players and coaches meet with the media ahead of the game.

Former Seattle Seahawk, current San Francisco 49ers All-Pro corner and vice president for the NFL Players Association executive committee Richard Sherman spoke to the media regarding the possible expansion of the 16-game regular season schedule to 17 games.

In an interview with USA Today, Sherman told reporters:

“I don’t think it’s something players are interested in, honestly," he said. "And if that’s the point (owners are) negotiating on, then I think these negotiations are going to go a lot longer than anticipated."

Sherman continues:

It’s always odd when you hear player safety is (the league's) biggest concern. They’re really standing up for player safety, player safety, player safety, but it seems like player safety has a price tag. Player safety up to the point of ‘Hey, 17 games makes us this much money, so we really don’t care how safe they are if you’re going to pay us this much money to play another game.' -- Richard Sherman

The game of football is not just a contact sport; it is a collision sport. Player safety should be a top priority when making these decisions, such as adding one more game to the regular season. Injuries can happen at any time to any position. More games equals more money, but also increases the risk of player injury.

So where is the fine line if there is any?

Media member begs Richard Sherman to return to Seahawks

Media member begs Richard Sherman to return to Seahawks

The people have spoken and they want Richard Sherman back in Seattle.

At least that’s the case for one media member, who took a moment during Super Bowl interviews to beg the San Francisco 49ers cornerback to return to Seattle.

“I know I messed up. I still care about you,” he said. “I know I made some mistakes. And if you just give me a chance, you think about coming back, I promise, I’ll treat you right.”

Sherman spent seven seasons in Seattle before being released by the Seahawks in March 2018. He signed a three-year, $39 million contract to become a member of the 49ers, a move he is now grateful for.

“I really appreciate that and I’m so thankful,” Sherman said in response to the man. “It had it’s ups and its downs, but right now the relationship I’m in I’m so happy. I’m so thankful for the people I have with me. They came to me in a time when I was really down and out, and they didn’t give up on me. There’s something about that you can just appreciate genuinely.”

The media member continued to genuinely engage with Sherman, telling the elite defender his mom and the city of Seattle still has a a lot of love for him.

“And I love them too,” Sherman responded. “It’s just a hurt, and the scar is still there and the love I have right now. I’m really focused on the present and that’s all my attention can take right now.”

According to Reddit, the alleged media member engaging with Sherman is comedian Craig Gass, who frequents Super Bowl media days to get to know players on a deeper level.

While Sherman is on his way to acquiring another championship ring, fans in Seattle will always wonder what could have been if he stayed. The legendary of Legion of Boom era is now extinct with the departures of Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, as well as outspoken figures like Michael Bennett and Frank Clark. Seattle’s new identity has become Russell Wilson.

Richard Sherman might be Pete Carroll's greatest coaching accomplishment

USA Today

Richard Sherman might be Pete Carroll's greatest coaching accomplishment

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle coach Pete Carroll thoroughly enjoys coaching defensive backs. He played safety at Pacific and at every stop during his coaching career when he wasn't either a defensive coordinator or a head coach, Carroll worked with the secondary.

So it was with great pride that under Carroll's leadership the Seahawks developed one of the great secondaries in NFL history. One that earned and lived up to the nickname, "The Legion of Boom." Former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman helped make the now defunct fab four that five seasons ago helped Seattle win its first ever Super Bowl five seasons a special and unique unit. The selection and tutelage of the four-time Pro Bowler, selected in the fifth-round of the 2011 NFL Draft, could be considered Carroll's greatest accomplishment coaching a player, something Carroll downplayed. 

“I don’t know about accomplishments, but he probably has done about as well as any fifth-round draft pick has done, yeah I would  think that," Carroll said. "I’m not taking credit for that. I just think he’s a fantastic player and we kind of lucked out seeing it that way. He’s still mad at us for drafting him in the fifth round.”

Whenever the history of the Seahawks is written, two of the names that will always define the franchise during its greatest run to date will be running back Marshawn Lynch and Sherman. Both were talented, brash, polarizing and outspoken free spirits who also were flat out ballers that defined the attitude and swagger of the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl teams. Both also left Seattle on not the greatest of terms with Sherman departing last offseason, two years after Lynch semi-retired following the 2015 season before joining the Oakland Raiders. 

But in 2017 it all came crashing down. An Achilles tendon tear at Arizona in November ended his season. In the offseason, the franchise decided to cut him loose with one year remaining on his deal. 

On Sunday, Sherman will face his former team for the first time when his new team, San Francisco (2-9) plays at Seattle (6-5). It is the only intriguing storyline in a matchup that should prove to be lopsided. Sherman, during his Thursday press conference, referred to the matchup as just another game.  However, Sherman clearly remains unhappy about how things went down. 

"It's unfortunate," Sherman told reporters. "Everything has to come to an end, though, at some point. It's just unfortunate that it had to come to an end the way tat it did."

--- Coaching Sherman --- 

Sherman's most memorable moment in a Seahawks' uniform is easy to identify.

“Probably the ball he tipped in the end zone in the (NFC) championship game," Carroll said. "I think that moment was the best on-the-field moment."

It's easily one of the top plays in Seattle football history. In the waning seconds of the 2014 NFC Championship game, Sherman tipped away a pass thrown by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree in end zone (see video below). Linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted the tipped ball to seal the victory and send Seattle to Super Bowl XLVIII where the Seahawks demolish Denver, 43-8. To that point, Sherman had already been building his brand as a brash, dynamic defensive back. On that play, he became a legend and one that burned bright for the next four years in Seattle. But while enhanced Sherman's brand, it also expended his clout to speak his mind. Carroll said he appreciated Sherman's intelligence and personality. 

"We had so many times when we were sharing things and getting through stuff and understanding what was the next step," Carroll said. " Listening to him kind of plan out and plot out how he was going to deal with what’s going on in the world and all that. Those are great times, so I don’t know if there’s any one of those."

Sherman never backed down from challenging authority. But Carroll said that didn't necessarily make Sherman a challenge to contend with. Instead, Sherman required understanding. 

"He pushes the boundaries because he sees beyond what a lot of people see," Carroll said. "He goes beyond what other people might be limited by. I think that’s an extraordinary characteristic of a person. That’s part of what it was that I loved about it so much. He made you think and made you work and made you understand and made me come to understand. I didn’t find it as a challenge, I thought it was a blessing that we got to work at stuff like that. That’s what makes coaching special and makes it fun and makes dealing with people fun. It’s a pretty good lovefest for Sherm.”

After the Achilles injury, Seattle had to weight the player against his the remaining $13 million on his contract. Carroll and general manager John Schneider also had to consider Sherman's persona, and how he might have been alienating quarterback Russelll Wilson, by then the clear face of the franchise. 

[RELATED: Bobby Wagner's message to Seattle Seahawks fans that might boo Richard Sherman]

[RELATED: Doug Baldwin still impacted by loss of friend Richard Sherman to 49ers

--- Missing Sherman ---

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and linebacker Bobby Wagner miss Sherman's presence. Both during the week expressed as much. Sherman undoubtedly misses them, as well. His relationship with Wilson, however, was less friendly. 

Sherman's disdain for Wilson could be viewed as childish. Take Sherman's comments on Thursday. When asked about knowing first hand what Wilson can do on the field, Sherman quickly responded: "I've also seen him throw five picks in a game. So you see what he's capable of on both sides of it. You understand that he can be defended." 

Sherman is correct. Wilson threw five interceptions during a loss at Green Bay in 2016. However, he threw just six over the other 15 games that season. In fact, Wilson has thrown three or more interceptions only three times in his career. So for Sherman to bring up that one day to counterbalance how great Wilson has been is disingenuous. 

This negativity toward Wilson likely played a part in Seattle letting Sherman go. It does a franchise no good to have an outspoken defensive player sending out negative vibes toward the franchise quarterback. It's counterproductive and in the end, a franchise is always going to side with the future hall of fame quarterback over a future hall of fame defensive back.

Now compare Wilson's comments about Sherman on Thursday. 

"He’s going to be a Hall of Fame corner," Wilson said. "He’s a guy that meant so much to our football team when he was here – just how many plays he made. Like I said I think a couple of days ago or last week, the thing that I respect about Sherm more than anything else is how he brings it everyday at practice, even when he’s hurt. He always practiced, was out there. He didn’t have to be – all-pro player guys who’s done so many different things and – and he always was able to do that. Not just that, but he was always able to teach the younger guys as well. To be able to go up against him in practice every day helped my career. Just helped build my understanding of the game and just confidence and everything else going on. It’s one of the best corners, it prepares you. I’m grateful for that."

---Sherman the mentor---

Seattle selected cornerback Shaquill Griffin in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft and this year drafted Tre Flowers in the fifth round. Carroll has used video of Sherman to help school both young players on the fine art of playing cornerback in Seattle's defense.

Griffin got to spend a year playing and learning from Sherman and told his mentor that he hopes to do a jersey swap on Sunday. 

"He taught me a lot," Griffin said. "I always say, the main thing he taught me was how to be a pro. He told me how to handle myself when it comes to different situations...How to take care of my  body. How much film I should try to watch. Just how to be a pro."

Flowers, drafted in the same round Sherman went in seven years prior, is 6-foot-3, just like Sherman. Carroll loves big corners and he is hopeful that Flowers could develop into another Sherman. Flowers never got to play with Sherman but they did talk during the offseason after Wagner linked up the two. 

"I texted him once and I got a couple of paragraphs back," Flowers said. "Just seeing his knowledge and how much he cares about people, it was tremendous."

Flowers said the Legion of Boom were his favorite defensive backs and he has probably watched every game Sherman has ever played. 

"In my opinion he is the G.O.A.T.," Flowers said. "So, anything he's doing, I'm trying to do."

Carroll uses video of Sherman to teach both Griffin and Flowers.  Flowers said that process began his "first day" on the job during rookie minicamp. 

Sherman the mentor was a powerful force, as was Sherman the leader. Other have filled the void he left, but he remains missed. 

"We miss him not just as a leader but just as a person around the locker room," Griffin said. "He always brought energy here. He was always in a good mood. I was only here for one year but he made a huge impact on my life."

--- Moving on ---

When When Sherman signed with San Francisco he indicated that he chose a team in the NFC West Division because he wanted to face Seattle. San Francisco, at the time, appeared to be a playoff threat after winning five consecutive games to close the 2017 season after the acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Sherman has had a solid season but the 49ers were dealt a blow when Garoppolo went down earlier this season with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Seattle has a strong chance of making the playoffs. The latter defies some of Sherman's criticism of Seattle on his way out the door. He called out Carroll and Schneider for not drafting as well recently as when they built the Super Bowl team. A reporter asked Sherman about that stance on Thursday. 

"If you just look at the draft classes we had early on and the draft classes they have had in the last three, four, five years: The truth is the truth," Sherman told reporters. "I don't have to make stuff up. People can take it how they want to. It's unfortunate that things have gone the way they have."

In reality, however, Seattle drafted really well in 2018 and has made enough good roster moves to have the team in position to make the playoffs without one remaining member of the Legion of Boom. Second guessing, or not, the reality is that Sherman appears to still be hurt by the team letting him go. 

"You just expect that after you've done so much for a franchise that they wouldn't cut you while you're hurt," Sherman said. "It's kind of more of a respect thing than anything. But they did. So you've kind of got to roll with the business."

The NFL is certainly a rough business, one that often results in messy departures from teams they helped define. This case is no different and it's unfortunate. Seattle would be more fun with Sherman and Lynch on the team. But that's typically not how the NFL works. 

Despite the lingering bitterness that appears evident, Sherman let it be knows that Carroll was always upfront and honest with him and for that reason he believes the two will one day be able to see their working relationship for what it was - a resounding success. 

"I'm sure we'll have some relationship at some point and talk," Sherman said. "Pete was a good man and a good caoch and did everything he can for that franchise. I don't have any ill will toward him at all." 

Doug Baldwin still impacted by loss of friend Richard Sherman to 49ers

Doug Baldwin still impacted by loss of friend Richard Sherman to 49ers

Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin will go head-to-head against former teammate, cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday when San Francisco plays the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.  

When Sherman lines up across from Baldwin, it will be a matchup of former teammates both in college at Stanford and in Seattle. The showdown should be electric. Or... 

"I'm not really that eager," Baldwin told reporters when asked about facing Sherman on Sunday. "It's just another game."

Yawn! Can't sell tickets like that. And nobody should be buying what Baldwin is selling. Often times the closest of friends produce the most competitive of matchups. See Deion Sanders vs. Andre Rison from 1994. Of course, those two developed major beef after Sanders left Atlanta for San Francisco whereas Baldwin and Sherman remain buddies. 

Still, these two went at it in practices from 2007, when they became teammates at Stanford, through last season before Sherman went down with an Achilles tendon tear. They know each other well, which should make for an interesting duel. 

"He knows all my tricks," Baldwin said. "I know most of his. He says he has some new ones. It'll be fun."

What would be more fun for Baldwin is if two were still teammates. Nobody on the Seahawks knew Sherman better than Baldwin. The pair entered the NFL together in 2011, Sherman as a fifth-round draft pick by the Seahawks and Baldwin as an undrafterd rookie free agent. Sherman began his collegiate career as a receiver running drills with Baldwin at Stanford. 

Consequently, Sherman's departure last offseason hit Baldwin hard, and he felt it was unnecessary. 

"I thought it was really (expletive), to be honest with you, how it ended," Baldwin said. "Would really have liked for him to stay here and have an opportunity to finish his career with this organization. But it's part of the business."

Seattle released Sherman rather than pay him the final $13 million remaining on his deal. He soon signed with the 49ers, stating that he chose a NFC West rival in part because he relished the opportunity to face Seattle twice a year.  This all went down a year after wide receiver Jermaine Kearse left Seattle for the New York Jets, a move that also cut Baldwin deeply. 

"Those are two of my closets friends on the team," Baldwin said. "Were, because they're no longer on the team. I still stay in consistent contact with Sherm and Jermaine."

That chatter with Sherman, Baldwin said, picked up this week. According to Baldwin, Sherman also says that Sunday's matchup is just another game, which of course contradicts his declaration last spring that he looked forward to facing the Seahawks. 

"He's always been very professional in that regard," Baldwin said. "It doesn't surprise me that it's just another game for him."

There is no way that's true, but okay. 

What is true is that Baldwin wishes that Sherman were still his teammate. Losing that connection, Baldwin said, has impacted him emotionally and mentally. 

"Is there any good way [to lose a teammate]?" Baldwin asked, repeating a question posed to him. "No, there is no good way to have your teammates that you've been close with and built an organization to have them leave in any fashion is not fun."

Baldwin said he is not privy to all of the business aspects of the decision to let Sherman walk but he believes that his long-time friend could have remained in Seattle. 

"Yes, I think he could be here," Baldwin said. "But, again, I'm not the GM, I'm not the head coach and I'm not the owner. That's above my pay grade."

Bobby Wagner's message to Seattle Seahawks fans that might boo Richard Sherman

Bobby Wagner's message to Seattle Seahawks fans that might boo Richard Sherman

Former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, the outspoken, brash and ultra-talented future hall of famer, returns to CenturyLink Field on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers (2-9) face the Seattle Seahawks (6-5). 

Sherman left Seattle last offseason after getting released by the team with one year remaining on his deal and then signing with San Francisco, in part, he said at the time, so he could get two shots at facing the Seahawks. 

Sherman had some parting shots for coach Pete Carroll on the way out the door, although the coach that drafted Sherman says the two aren't at odds. 

Regardless, Sunday's game - although not expected to be competitive - will included the added drama of Sherman's return to the stadium where he helped lead the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl title during the 2013 season. 

So, how should fans react to Sherman? With cheers, it would seem. He is a franchise great. The team cut him following an achilles tendon injury that derailed his 2017 season. Of course Sherman talked trash on his way out the door. He talked trash for seven seasons in Seattle. The idea of some fans booing him seems absurd. Linebacker Bobby Wagner agrees.  

“He should be received with the loudest cheers that they can possibly cheer and the warmest of welcomes," Wagner said. "It’s not like he said ‘I hate this team, I want to leave.’ It was the business side of everything. I would be surprised if they booed. "

Wagner is 100 percent correct. However, one never knows how pockets of fans might view Sherman. For anyone who views him in a negative light, Wagner had this message:

"If anybody booed, they didn’t like him when he was here," Wagner said. "I think he deserves the applause. He was a part of the team that helped bring this city the first football championship so I wouldn’t expect anything other than respect. Even the way he went out, he went out with a lot of class, as he is as a person. I would be surprised if they booed him. If they do boo him, then they weren’t a Richard Sherman fan in the first place.”

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin had a specific goal in mind to accomplish in his second season with the Seahawks.

The cornerback wanted to get his hands on more footballs that actually remained in his grasp. Griffin, a third-round pick out of Central Florida, had 15 passes defended as a rookie but just one interception. Griffin already has two interceptions this season, both coming in Monday's loss at Chicago. And both the product of increased confidence. 

One came on a leaping, turning play on the ball that defined his goals to improve. Griffin said he's much further along this season than he was last year in the art of tracking the ball. 

"I’m glad I’m finally getting the ball in my hand," he said. "I feel like that’s the main thing I wanted to work on. That’s just a huge confidence booster for me to finally start getting the ball in my hands early in the season. That’s something I’m going to continue to work on."

Griffin said the trick is being more confident in getting his head turned around to find the ball, which he did while making a leaping interception at Chicago on a sideline pass intended for wide receiver Allen Robinson. 

"Last year I felt like I was just playing it safe when I know I can punch the ball out," Griffin said. "I know I’m good at tracking the ball and just make sure he doesn’t catch it. I said, now that I know I’m finally doing good with that, let’s try and get the ball in my hands, I just try to turn my head around."

Griffin had the benefit last year of playing opposite former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, now with San Francisco. Sherman, according to Griffin, shared with him some valuable advice.  

"He was telling me, when you’re running, you got to look up straight in the air because that’s where the ball is at," Griffin said. "The ball is not coming straight to you. So, it was the little stuff that he was teaching me, but he also wants me to feel comfortable doing it."

Even though Sherman is now with the 49ers, Griffin said his mentor and "brother" remains only a phone call or text message away. 

"That’s the type of person Richard Sherman is," Griffin said. "He’s always willing to help and that’s something that you as a rookie last year, somebody you can always ask for and love to have from a person like Richard. So, to this day I still would ask questions or anything that I need to know, or I want to know, he’s always willing to help. So that’s awesome from him.”

As it turned out, Shaquill this season moved from right corner to Sherman's former left corner spot. 

"It meant a lot actually, because I felt like that means they have a sense of trust in me to take that role," Shaquill said. "Especially being that’s Richard Sherman’s spot and everything that he’s done here in this organization. That means they had a sense of trust in me to take over that role and kind of pick up where he left off from.”

Filling the spot of a former member of the Legion of Boom is different than trying to live up to that legacy. 

"I feel like we’re not trying to live up to the standard. We’re just trying to find our own identity and continue to use what the guys have put down before us," Shaquill said. 

Despite being a starter, Shaquill is the lesser-known Griffin brother. His twin brother, Seattle linebacker Shaquem Griffin, has made headlines for playing college and NFL football without having a left hand. Shaquem started the season opener in place of the injured K.J. Wright and had a rough day. 

The twins review game film in a theater room in the apartment share. Shaquill said the room is equipped with lounge chairs for comfort.

Is there a small refrigerator, as well?

"No," Shaquill said. "But that's a good idea."

Much of the film sessions involve Shaquill helping Shaquem learn the defense and examine his mistakes. The sessions also include Shaquem offering Shaquill some pointers. During games, they make a point of finding each other on the sideline to go over aspects of the game. At Chicago, Shaquem made sure his brother remained properly hydrated during the humid Chicago evening.  

"He was like, ‘Are you good, you need some water? So, it’s good to have him out there checking on m," Shaquill said. "Every series is just a couple words here and there. People don’t understand, just those few words help someone, any player, just calm down just a little bit more."

Seattle is more than pleased with how well Griffin has performed at the left cornerback spot. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. pointed to Griffin's understanding of the position. 

“You can see he’s a guy that really understands the corner play," Norton said. "He knows how to go up and get the ball, he’s really fast, he understands his technique. There’s no limit for how good he can be. It’s just a matter of practicing and continuing to learn, continue to improve and then the good stuff starts to come.”

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said he's seen a dramatic increase in Griffin's confidence. 

"He had it last year, but it’s definitely grown because you have all offseason, all summer, to kind of sit there and, and really dissect what you did good last year, what you did bad, be able to be in a system for a long time," Wagner said. "You see his confidence, he’s kind of like, he wants somebody to try him. When they tried him, he got two picks.”

For Carroll, Griffin's consistency has been great to see. 

"He’s just played the same every time he goes out," Griffin said. "He’s got a consistency about him and he’s really gifted because he’s so fast and he’s athletic and all the rest and he’s tough, that he’s got a consistency to him that he could be a really good player here in. You got to put time together to make that work, but I’m really hopeful for it.”

On Sunday against Dallas, the Griffin brothers will play their first regular season home game at CenturyLink. Shaquill has experienced the noise levels fans create. Shaquem has not. 

"It’s extremely loud, but it’s exciting," Shaquill said. "I can’t wait for (Shaquem) to get the full experience.  He was telling me, ‘oh, I ain’t know it going to be this loud’, and this was preseason. It’s a totally huge difference between the preseason game and a regular season game at home. So, I’m curious to see his reaction. I think the first thing I’m going to do if he’s on kick off is look in his face and see how he looks. I just want to catch the reaction of his first time on the field at a regular season game at home.

Seahawks have lost some swag, but not confidence entering training camp

Seahawks have lost some swag, but not confidence entering training camp

RENTON, Wash. - A DJ delivered a variety of blaring jams spanning decades and genres. Seahawks fans filled the hill overlooking the field at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. And quarterback Russell Wilson dazzled with a deft, slight-of-hand flip of the ball to a receiver after the franchise player appeared to be out of options against a fierce pass rush.

So the 2018 season began Thursday for Seattle with day one of training camp. No pads. Just helmets. Plenty of first-day miscues were on display. Competitive encounters energized drills. All were performed at a fast pace that got the team's juices flowing in preparation for the 2018 season.

All the while, the sense that something was dramatically different with the franchise could not be ignored. Gone was that sometimes-surreal feel of swag that comes with the presence of dominant forces and personalities that have led a team to a Super Bowl championship.

The faces on this team have changed so much in one season that some of that bravado certainly felt absent. And one glaring question hovered above the action: What is this franchise's identity beyond quarterback Russell Wilson and can it return to the mountain top sooner rather than later?

One holdover from the once-dominant defense, linebacker Bobby Wagner, warns not to underestimate this team's desire to prove doubters wrong. 

"I feel like there is a different energy, a different vibe," he said. "I feel like everybody is hungry, everybody has something to prove, and that brings an excitement."

That's a great attitude to have because the challenge ahead feels more like the team has stepped solidly into a hole of mediocrity rather than poised to return to contention following a 9-7 season. 

When the Seahawks ruled the NFL after winning Super Bowl XLVII following the 2013 season and returning the final season only to fall in a heartbreaker to New England, running back Marshawn Lynch set the tone on offense, the Legion of Boom defense performed as well as any in NFL history and Wilson served as a youthful game manager propelled by a proclivity for the spectacular while steered by an unflappable calm.

Today, however, Lynch is out of the NFL and entrenched as a pop culture symbol of defiance, the defense has lost once indomitable icons; Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, while Wilson has morphed into a face-of-the-franchise superstar who just happens to be married to musical force, Ciara. Then there is the little matter of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas refusing to return to camp until his contract is reworked. 

My how times have changed for the Seahawks. 

The demise of the running game and the erosion of a once supreme defense, along with the ascension of Wilson - he led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes last season - resulted in the team missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2011.

It's a similar decline that befell the Baltimore Ravens following its Super Bowl victory following the 2012 season. Quarterback Joe Flacco became the face of the franchise - and got paid like it - after middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed moved on. The Ravens have reached the playoffs one time since.

Seattle hopes to avoid a similar fate and rebuild on the fly without completely disintegrating first. The presence of a franchise quarterback should keep Seattle at least in the playoff hunt. But as Green Bay has discovered since Aaron Rodgers led the team to a Super Bowl following the 2010 season, having a dominant quarterback does not automatically put a team into Super Bowl contention. 

Seattle must replace the key parts it lost from its contending years. Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider believe they have some pieces in place that could develop into impact players just as the aforementioned stars did a few years ago. 

Carroll and Schneider deserve the benefit of the doubt. The duo has proven that it can find stars in the middle and late rounds of the draft, selecting Wilson in the third round, Sherman and Chancellor in the fifth round, and signing wide receiver Doug Baldwin as an undrafted rookie free agent. 

They've also done a great job in the past of taking the castoffs from other teams and turning them into stalwarts, such as Bennett (who began his career with Seattle before going to Tampa Bay and then returning to the Seahawks) and Avril. 

Nobody gave much though to the acquisition of any of these players until they developed into stars. 

For all anyone knows, there are such unproven gems dotting the current roster. Is 6-foot-3 cornerback Tre Flowers the next Sherman? Could defensive end Dion Jordan finally find stardom as a dominant pass rusher in Seattle's defense? Will moves made along the offensive line get the offense back on track?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then Seattle will return to the playoffs where Wilson is capable of leading the team on a deep run. If the answers are no, then Seattle is looking at once again missing the playoffs and following the pattern set by the Ravens. 

One thing for sure is that the team believes it is ready to blossom, and Carroll senses that he has a group capable of bringing Seattle back into contention. 

“I think we’ve sensed it the whole time," Carroll said following practice. "I think we’ve sensed it since the last game of the season, without question. It’s really been part of the mentality that’s made these guys kind of in this mode of they’re really grinding and they’re really fired up about working and making right and all that, and there’s so many areas for us to improve from last season and it’s so obvious. It’s already underway.”

Five Seahawks Training Camp Mysteries: 2. Will Earl Thomas report?

Five Seahawks Training Camp Mysteries: 2. Will Earl Thomas report?

The Seattle Seahawks open training camp on Thursday in Renton, Wash., and for the first time since 2012 will do so after having missed the playoffs the previous year (9-7). With the Los Angeles Rams potentially on the verge of becoming elite and San Francisco showing signs of improvement, the Seahawks could be on the brink of sinking further down in the NFC West Division. To avoid such a fate, we present five mysteries the Seahawks must unravel during training camp:

Other posts:

Mystery No. 1: Can quarterback Russell Wilson carry this team?

Mystery No. 3: Can wide receiver Brandon Marshall still ball?

Mystery No. 4: Can Seattle's defense be revived?

Mystery No. 5: Will the run game become respectable?


Mystery No. 2: Will safety Earl Thomas report?

Seattle needs Thomas to be Thomas on the field in order to get back to the playoffs.

The eight-time Pro Bowler is one of the greatest to ever play for the Seahawks but he is holding out and vows not to report to training camp, or beyond, unless he receives a contract extension or is traded, preferably to Dallas.

Thomas, 29, is due to make $8.5 million in the final year of his deal. The reality is that Thomas' quest for more money is understandable. He saw what happened to fellow Legion of Boom comrades, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Sherman blew out his Achilles last season resulting in the Seahawks releasing him with one year remaining on his contract. He is now with San Francisco. He is now on a prove-it-to-us deal with San Francisco. Chancellor announced that he will not play again, but hasn't officially retired so he can collect on the guaranteed money due to him via an extension he signed last year during training camp. 

Thomas would like to secure similar financial considerations, but the very reasons why he wants a big payday in case another major injury awaits him (he broke his leg in 2016), the Seahawks are reluctant to give out more cash to a 29-year-old player no matter how elite he is. 

Ultimately, Thomas will have to show up at some point. It makes zero sense for a player wanting more money to light guaranteed cash on fire by not reporting to his team at least in time for the start of the regular season. Thomas could be fined $40,000 for each camp day missed, and lose $500,000 for each regular season game he sits out.  

Should Thomas sit out the entire season he would not become a free agent in 2019. So what's the point?

Trading Thomas for less than a second-round pick wouldn't made sense for Seattle given that should he leave as an unrestricted free agent next offseason, the Seahawks would receive a third-round pick as compensation. 

Also, the Seahawks could place the franchise tag on Thomas next offseason, which would not be all bad for Thomas, who would receive about $12 million to play for Seattle in 2019. In the long run, that might be the route Seattle takes with Thomas, and it wouldn't be all bad for the safety. He would then be receiving about $20 million for two seasons. 

At the end of the day, Thomas signed a long-term contract worth $40 million three years ago. He is obligated to live up to that deal and then weigh his options moving forward. 

He ultimately will report. When, is the question?