Seahawks coach Pete Carroll accidentally wandered into quicksand on Monday during a radio appearance, admitting that cornerback Richard Sherman played for much of the year with an MCL injury to his knee that never was disclosed. At his end-of-season press conference conducted later in the day, Carroll admitted to the violation.
“I didn’t realize that we hadn’t even revealed it,” Carroll told reporters, via the transcript generated by the team. “I don’t even remember what game it was, it was somewhere in the middle, he was fine about it, he didn’t miss anything. Same with Russell [Wilson], he was fine about it. I don’t know how they do that, but they did.”
Carroll seems to believe that, because Sherman never missed practice or game time due to the injury, the injury didn’t need to be disclosed.
“He never missed anything, just like Russell [Wilson], Russell never missed anything and Tyler [Lockett], they all had it during the course of the season and they just made it through it,” Carroll said, overlooking the fact that Russell’s MCL injury was properly disclosed. “They never complained, they didn’t want to miss a practice and they basically didn’t miss anything but they were legit, it was legit injury, it showed up and the whole thing. That’s a challenge for anyone. Guys over the league are going through the same thing, our guys just happen to be doing it as well.”
None of this changes the fact that the Seahawks failed to disclose the injury.
“I’m feeling like I screwed that up with not telling you that,” Carroll eventually conceded. “He was OK, so I don’t know, he never missed anything I guess is probably why.”
Still, that’s not the standard. Plenty of players who never miss practice or games nevertheless are disclosed on the injury report. While the league rarely slaps a team for violating the rules, the league rarely has such clear evidence of a violation fall into its lap.
Coupled with a pair of offseason workout violations from the past three offseason, the NFL could be inclined to take potentially significant action against a team that has developed a pattern of breaking the rules. Or, perhaps more accurately given the prevalence of cheating in the NFL, that the Seahawks have developed a pattern of getting caught.