Pete Carroll says he bears no ill will toward Richard Sherman, despite the nasty breakup Sherman and the Seahawks experienced last offseason.
Sherman will be returning to CenturyLink Field for the first time since he joining the division-rival 49ers, but Carroll said he understood why Sherman ended up in San Francisco.
“Sherm had to do what he had to do,” the Seahawks coach said, via the Seattle Times. “He had to change allegiance and get tuned into his new team, and whatever took place was OK. I didn’t care.
“I knew who Sherm is. I knew him way differently than you guys probably think I do. I think the world of him and there were times along the time when he was here that he said things I might not have agreed with and had to work through and all of that. … I don’t care (what he said after leaving). I could care less about that.’’”
Sherman was vocal in why he decided to leave Seattle, saying he felt that the Seahawks weren’t as cohesive of a team anymore and that he felt “disrespected” by the way the organization treated him in the end after his season was shortened from an Achilles injury.
He also called out Carroll, saying that he wasn’t leading the team properly and maybe he was better suited to go back to college football.
Despite the criticisms, Carroll said he knows who Sherman is as a person, and that even though he could be difficult as a player, he still has a good heart.
“He was a challenge, yeah,” Carroll said (per ESPN.com). “He was a challenge like many of our guys have been. It was a challenge in being really willing to work with somebody and see the beautiful aspects of this individual. He’s an amazing person and I had great respect for him. So I was challenged because he’s brilliant and he had a lot of thoughts and this tremendous competitiveness about him that took him places that other athletes don’t get to. Every bit of it was worth it. Every bit of it was worth it.”
Now that some time has passed, Carroll said he expects Sherman to be happy to see his old teammates and fans.
“I think he’s loved around here for all the great stuff that he did … I don’t think our fans think any differently than I do about that,” Carroll said.
Sherman, too, appears willing to let bygones be bygones — sort of.
“I look back at the memories fondly,” he said this week in an interview with ESPN 710. “I think it’s unfortunate that it had to end the way that it did. I think that a lot of people would have assumed that they wouldn’t cut me, especially while a guy’s injured and rehabbing, trying to get back. But unfortunately they did, and it’s one of those things you just gotta kinda roll with the punches and continue to push forward. Thankfully I got a chance to sign with the San Francisco 49ers and get the chance to continue my football career.”