Here are three numbers that matter pertaining to the Seattle Seahawks' 2017 season.

Russell WilsonJoe Nicholson/USA Today SportsRussell Wilson faced pressure on 35 percent of his dropbacks in 2016, according to Football Outsiders.

1: Where Russell Wilson has ranked statistically (defense-adjusted value over average) from 2012 to 2016 on plays in which he's not pressured, according to Football Outsiders. The website recently broke down quarterbacks' performances on plays when they were pressured compared with plays when they weren't. Wilson's numbers suffered a drop-off when pressured, but he was still second leaguewide in that category.

The Seahawks' goal for Wilson is to get him back to his 2015 form, when the quarterback threw 25 touchdowns and two interceptions in the second half of the season. He did his damage during that stretch primarily from the pocket. But to get back to that, protection has to hold up.

Per Football Outsiders, Wilson was pressured on 34.9 percent of his dropbacks last year. Only Tyrod Taylor and Jared Goff were pressured more frequently.

73.1: Wilson's QBR last year when he played behind an offensive line of George Fant, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi and Garry Gilliam. That would have ranked fifth in the NFL. With that group, Wilson completed 66.1 percent of his passes, averaged 8.65 yards per attempt and threw 12 touchdowns with two interceptions on 251 dropbacks.

Why do those numbers matter? Because four of those five offensive linemen could be starting in Week 1. Glowinski is moving from left guard to right guard, and Ifedi is moving from right guard to right tackle. Gilliam signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

But Wilson played behind that five-man unit mostly later in the season, and while the offense still had issues, the numbers suggest they weren't dire. With that five-man unit up front, the Seahawks averaged 6.04 yards per play, which would have been fourth in the NFL.

Luke Joeckel is expected to start at left guard or left tackle. Second-round pick Ethan Pocic could compete for playing time at right guard or right tackle. And while it's not a huge sample size (388 plays), the numbers reflect why the coaches likely think a healthy Wilson can be enough to provide a significant upgrade to the offense in 2017.

27: The number of "defeats" credited to Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright last year. That was tops on the team and tied for eighth-most leaguewide. Football Outsiders defines a "defeat" as: "a tackle that results in a loss of yardage, including sacks; any play that results in a turnover, including tipped passes which are then intercepted; any tackle or tipped pass that leads to a stop on third or fourth down."

Seahawks players consistently point to Wright when asked about the team's most underrated defenders. He hasn't missed a game in three years and rarely comes off the field. Only Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman played more snaps than Wright among Seahawks defenders last year.

One more note on defeats: Kam Chancellor was tied for fourth among safeties with 16, and he missed four games. Chancellor is entering the final year of his deal, and the Seahawks will have to make a decision about whether to extend him, but the veteran played at a high level in 2016.

SEATTLE -- To kick off Pride Week in Seattle, the city's professional sports teams joined to show their support for LGBTQ equality.

Representatives of the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, Storm and Reign gathered in downtown Seattle on Tuesday for a news conference with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster inclusive sports communities.

Reign and U.S. women's soccer player Megan Rapinoe said the show of unity was gratifying to her personally as a gay athlete, but she also lauded what it meant for athletes who may not be open about their sexuality.

"I think it's incredibly important to make these steps and to show the athletes that might be in the closet that they are with support," Rapinoe said. "Being in such a progressive city, we take it for granted sometimes how wonderful and inclusive it is here. And it's definitely not that way around the country. I feel thankful to be a part of such a sports scene. This means the world to gay athletes, whether they are out or not."

Ginny Gilder, an owner of the Storm and an Olympic medalist in rowing, appreciated that both men's and women's franchises were represented. Among those present were Mariners majority owner John Stanton, Seahawks general counsel/vice president Ed Goines and Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer and defender Brad Evans.

"It marks an unprecedented effort where a city's entire professional sports roster stands together to champion LGBTQ inclusion and equality," said Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally and a former collegiate wrestler. "We're witnessing the greatest expansion of athlete activism in history."

Evans said it's critical to have "educated" locker rooms where all players should feel welcomed.


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Cliff Avril shares how Seattle's storied defense has managed to stay intact.

Cliff AvrilCliff Avril Family FoundationThe Seahawks' Cliff Avril put smiles on many faces in Haiti with his charitable work during the offseason.

RENTON, Wash. -- Defensive end Cliff Avril took a seat on the couch outside the Seattle Seahawks' locker room, started scrolling through his Instagram account and took a moment to reflect.

"This is crazy," Avril told ESPN.com. "I’ve been to a lot of places since the season ended."

Avril, 31, has been one of the Seahawks' most consistent and durable defensive players in recent years. Last season, he compiled a career-high 11.5 sacks and made his first Pro Bowl.

But Avril has perspective, and he doesn't want football to define him. His parents came to America from Haiti in the 1980s, and, for the past two offseasons, Avril has traveled to Haiti to lead a series of community initiatives. Last year, he pledged to build a house for every sack he picked up.

Avril made good on that promise in the offseason, traveling with a group that included NFL players Michael Bennett (and his wife), Marshawn Lynch, Gosder Cherilus, Leger Douzable and Stephen Tulloch, along with Avril's wife, mother, cousin and others.



One of the group's first stops was at an orphanage that Avril supports through his foundation. He supplied the kids with clean water all of last year and will do the same again this year.

Trying out a different sport. << #AvrilHaiti2017

A post shared by Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) on



"This is us playing with the kids outside," Avril said. "Some of the people that we went with donated bedsheets and different things [school supplies, soccer balls] for the kids. And while they were doing that, me and the guys went outside to play with the kids. Just kicking the ball around, they had bubbles and all kinds of stuff. It was a real cool little moment.

"Some of these kids, we saw them last year. Just something as simple as having clean water, you can tell the difference in their skin and how much healthier they are compared to the year before. So, that was pretty cool to see."

Avril decided he wished to invest in education, so he renovated a school in a town called La Chanm. The school originally housed kids from first through sixth grades in one building. Kindergarten was in a nearby hut. Avril's foundation pledged to build three new buildings -- two of which have been completed -- with eight total classrooms.

Smiles! <<<<<< #AvrilHaiti2017 #Bricks2Books #HAITIANCREATION

A post shared by Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) on



"They went through these different songs and put on a little show," Avril said. "But this was the first time I got to see the school. This was the best. Out of the whole trip, that was probably the coolest thing I got to see."

The picture below shows the old school and the first new building.



Avril and his group helped paint the second of the two buildings ready for use.

The second school building is open! <<<<<<#AvrilHaiti2017 #Bricks2Books #HAITIANCREATION

A post shared by Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) on



"To be able to give them a real infrastructure that’s hurricane- and earthquake-proof so that they can use it as shelter, as well, just being a part of the process was amazing," Avril said. "The community was happy because they could use it for other things in the evenings, as well. So for them to be able to have this in the middle of their community is pretty cool."

In between building and painting, there was plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the island, such as during Lynch's birthday dinner.



"That tells you what a great person he is," Avril said. "On his 31st birthday, he’s in Haiti helping people. So for me, out of respect and appreciation, I wanted to throw him a party. He didn’t know about it. So we threw him a surprise dinner. And Marshawn hates the element of cameras and stuff, but he was very appreciative. And I appreciate him."

Lynch went on the trip with Avril last year, too. In October, with the NFL season in full swing, Avril couldn't go to Haiti to open the first classroom building. Instead, Lynch, Avril's wife and others made the trip on his behalf.

Avril said that even in Haiti, where American football isn't popular, Lynch would still get recognized.

"They couldn't even really speak English, but they knew how to say 'Beast Mode,'" he said.

And then there were the houses. Avril's sack pledge accounted for 12 new homes, and he was able to meet with six of the families who lived in the structures he had sponsored.

 

"Their old home was right next door to the one we built," Avril said. "They didn’t have cement floors, so they were literally sleeping on the floor. When it rained during hurricane season, the floor would get really muddy. And that’s what they were sleeping on.

"There’s another home next to it. The concept is community. There will be a kitchen in the middle where they provide for each other."

Avril has partnered with a nonprofit called New Story. The organization helps select viable candidates for the new homes, which are built by Haitians and use materials from Haiti.

Avril has no plans to make this a one-year pledge. He said that he's leaning toward making the same sack promise for the 2017 season and that he eventually wants to go to Haiti multiple times a year.

"They’re grateful," Avril said. "They start praying and start crying. They’re extremely happy."

Part of what made the trip special for Avril was that he could share the experience with those close to him -- specifically his mother.



"Unreal," he said. "She loved it. She was crying because she understands what these people are going through. That was her growing up. So for her to be a part of the process of actually going out there and being able to change lives, it’s unreal. It’s crazy just thinking about it.

"People ask why I want to go back. I could have easily been one of those Haitian kids. I was just fortunate enough that my mom was able to make it to the States, and we made something happen. But I could have easily been one of those kids."

Although Avril's dad died of a heart attack two years ago, the Seattle defensive end knows he is smiling down on his son and what he has accomplished.

"He’d be so amazed," Avril said. "I wish I would have done it earlier just so he could have been part of the process. But he’s part of the reason why I’m doing it now. I’m pretty sure it’s him speaking through me. I know he’s up there smiling, for sure."

Along with posting daily schedules for players, the digital monitors at the Seattle Seahawks' practice facility also flash Pete Carroll's core coaching principles.

One of them reads: "Practice is everything."

And while the team got excellent participation during its spring program, one player who was missing until last week's mandatory minicamp was veteran defensive end Michael Bennett.

Bennett was asked why he chooses not to attend OTAs.

"I like to be a parent," Bennett said. "I've got daughters. I'm a coach. I'm a teacher at the school. I do stuff in the community. I try to balance my football life with my actual reality. So to find that great balance as a human being, I feel like it's important for athletes to find that. I think a lot of times athletes have a problem when they retire because they build their identity around the sport, and so when the sport is gone, you are lost.

"So along the way, you've got to transition yourself to be able to live in civilization. So find different things that you can be a part of. Find out who you are. So that's why I do what I do."

Bennett, who lives in Hawaii with his family, played at a high level last season, despite missing five games due to injury. He had five sacks and finished first on the team with 14 tackles for loss.

At the end of the year, the Seahawks restructured Bennett's deal and extended him through the 2020 season. He, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark will lead Seattle's pass rush once again in 2017.

"I train harder than anybody in the NFL, so I'm not worried about being in shape or being the best player I can be," Bennett said. "What I am worried about is how good of a parent I can be, how much better of a husband I can be. So those are things that I focus on when it's the offseason."

The Seattle Seahawks ended their offseason program on June 15. Here's a look at how they fared:

Offseason goals/grade: The Seahawks' had two main goals this offseason: getting their run game back on track and increasing their depth on defense. The team signed offensive linemen Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi while drafting Ethan Pocic in the second round. They also added Eddie Lacy to team up with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. They spent four of their first five draft picks on defense in addition to signing safety Bradley McDougald and a trio of linebackers. Defensively, the Seahawks should be fine if they can stay healthy, and this is still a Super Bowl-caliber roster. But did they do enough up front to provide an upgrade? Or are they counting too much on second-year players to make the leap? The answer to that question could tell the story of their season. C.

Dez Bryant and Bradley McDougaldAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackAdding Bradley McDougald, right, makes the Seahawks better equipped to deal with injury.

Move I liked: Signing McDougald to a one-year contract. Last season, the defense fell apart without Earl Thomas. The unit allowed 12 touchdowns with one interception and an opponents' passer rating of 100.3. Thomas is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken leg, but the Seahawks needed to add insurance behind him. McDougald has been practicing mostly at free safety but has the ability to play both spots, and the Seahawks could experiment with using him in a big nickel look. In addition to signing McDougald, the Seahawks drafted four defensive backs. They are much better equipped to deal with an injury in the secondary than they were a year ago.

Move I didn't like: Signing Luke Joeckel to a one-year, $8 million deal with $7 million guaranteed. The problem here is that the move doesn't give the Seahawks much upside. If Joeckel comes in and plays well, the team will have to pay big money to retain him next offseason. Such a move would carry risk, considering Joeckel's past struggles and injury issues. And if Joeckel doesn't play well, it'll be the latest in a long string of poor evaluations on the offensive line. It would have been nice to see the Seahawks sign Joeckel to a more team-friendly deal where they could have held onto him for a reasonable cost if he played well.

Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Who's playing right cornerback? The Seahawks brought DeShawn Shead back, but he's recovering from a knee injury and probably won't be ready for the start of the season. Jeremy Lane could get a shot at replacing Shead, but he has been playing mostly nickel. Rookie Shaquill Griffin has impressed and appears to be picking up the scheme quickly. Otherwise, a lesser-known player like Neiko Thorpe could line up at right corner to start the season. Richard Sherman's name was floated in trade rumors, but he's staying put at left cornerback. Whoever lines up opposite him figures to see plenty of action from opposing quarterbacks -- especially early on.

Salary-cap space: $8,464,133 (source: Overthecap.com)

2018 draft picks: 1. DT Malik McDowell, 2. OL Ethan Pocic, 3. CB Shaquill Griffin, 4. SS Delano Hill, 5. DT Nazair Jones, 6. WR Amara Darboh, 7. FS Tedric Thompson, 8. CB Mike Tyson, 9. OT Justin Senior, 10. WR David Moore, 11. RB Chris Carson.

Undrafted rookie free agents signed: OG Jordan Roos, FB Algernon Brown, LB Otha Peters, DT Jeremy Liggins, WR Darreus Rogers, TE Tyrone Swoopes, LB Nick Usher, TE Stevie Donatell, WR Cyril Grayson Jr., FB Kyle Coleman.

Unrestricted free agents signed: RB Eddie Lacy, OL Luke Joeckel, OL Oday Aboushi, DB Bradley McDougald, QB Austin Davis, K Blair Walsh, DE David Bass, LB Arthur Brown, DB Marcus Cromartie, LB Terence Garvin, DL Dion Jordan, LB Michael Wilhoite, CB Demetrius McCray,

Restricted free agents signed: None.

Players acquired via trade: None.

Keanu NealDale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsFalcons safety Keanu Neal has worked on improving his speed this offseason.



FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- If the scheduling works out, Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal plans to work out with mentor Kam Chancellor in Virginia before training camp begins.

However, Chancellor has some other business to attend to that's a bit more important.

"That's the plan, but he's getting married," Neal said of Chancellor. "So, we'll see how that goes."

Neal worked out with the Seattle Seahawks safety last year and those sessions obviously paid off. Neal came into the league carrying the same hard-hitting style that is Chancellor's signature. Many folks said Neal would be the Chancellor of Dan Quinn's defense, as Chancellor was an enforcer when Quinn was the defensive coordinator in Seattle. Neal finished his rookie season with 105 total tackles and five forced fumbles.

Chancellor certainly took note of Neal's play, particularly after a fan posted a side-by-side video of one of Chancellor's hits compared to one of Neal's crushing blows.

"It's cool, man," Neal said of being acknowledged by Chancellor. "Great dude. That's a guy that I looked up to and watched play from high school. He's like a mentor to me."

Quinn naturally supports Neal training with Chancellor. And Quinn continues to see a rise in Neal's performance, including an emphasis on improving middle-of-the-field coverage.

"He plays so much down by the line of scrimmage that the 20 percent of the time that he's back, he wanted to have that part of his range in order," Quinn said of Neal. "What I saw from him this spring was increased speed. ... He looks faster than he has been, and that's usually when it shows up -- in the middle of the field -- because you have such a long way to go."

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks wrapped up their three-day minicamp Thursday. The players are now on their own until late July when they return for training camp.

Here is what we learned over the past two months.

The team believes TE Jimmy Graham is primed to have his best year in Seattle.

When Pete Carroll was asked who stood out this spring, Graham was the first name out of the coach's mouth. Last year at this time, Graham was recovering from a ruptured patellar tendon. He made it back on the field in time for the opener and ended up having a solid season: 923 receiving yards (third among tight ends) and 14.2 yards per reception (first).

But the Seahawks struggled to get Graham the ball in the red zone, where he had just six receptions. That needs to improve in 2017.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsThe Seahawks have yet to utilize Jimmy Graham's abilities in the red zone.

"He's so much more of a complete player than maybe we thought he would even become, really," Carroll said. "So he surprised us. He and [QB] Russell [Wilson] are really tuned in. They spend a lot of time together. They communicate beautifully. I think it will hopefully show up as we get closer to the end zone -- not quite as productive as we thought we could be. But that's a big area of focus for us now."

Graham spent time with Wilson in Los Angeles this offseason. The tight end is entering the final year of his deal in Seattle.

Health is the only thing holding back RB C.J. Prosise.

Prosise consistently made impressive plays in the passing game during practices open to the media. He's a savvy route runner, a smooth athlete and a mismatch problem. That is, of course, when he's able to stay on the field. Prosise had multiple injuries last season and played in only six games. So far this offseason, he has looked healthy and dangerous.

"It was incredibly beneficial for us to see C.J. make it through the whole time," Carroll said. "He has a great scope that he fills for us. He can come out of the backfield, and he can run routes as a receiver, and he looked really good running the ball behind the line of scrimmage.

"So he goes into this six weeks hugely ahead of where he's been in years past, and we have really high hopes."

Prosise caught 17 of the 18 passes thrown his way last year. He adds an element to the Seahawks' offense that no one else on the roster can provide.

The George Fant hype is real.

In March, Carroll said that if Fant had to spend a year as a backup, it might be good for him. But Fant transformed his body in the offseason and is doing everything in his power to prove he deserves a legitimate shot to start at left tackle.

His physique impressed the coaching staff, as Fant has put on about 25 pounds. Of course, it's impossible to judge the progress of offensive linemen in May and June. Training camp and preseason will tell the story with Fant. But at this point, he has to be considered the favorite to protect Wilson's blind side.

CB Shaquill Griffin is a rookie to watch.

Often when the Seahawks were in nickel, Griffin lined up outside with Richard Sherman, while Jeremy Lane played across the slot. The coaches raved about the way Griffin has picked up the scheme.

"He's got probably one of the best corner minds that we've had for a young guy around here," defensive coordinator Kris Richard said.

The key for Griffin this summer will be to show that he can play the ball in the air. But he has a chance to contribute right away.

S Bradley McDougald has a chance to carve out a role on defense.

The Seahawks did not have a third safety like McDougald last year, and his versatility could allow for some new looks in 2017.

"Absolutely, there's no doubt about it," Richard said. "We've got some things in mind for Bradley. Obviously, he is learning both free safety and strong safety, and in the event that something happens to either Kam [Chancellor] or Earl [Thomas], we're looking for him to be the first safety going into the football game. He has done a fantastic job for us. We're very happy to have him here."

Seattle could utilize a big nickel look with McDougald or simply rotate him in. It appears he'll be more than just a depth piece this season.

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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says Colin Kaepernick remaining unsigned reflects the state of the NFL.

"I think the league is built on middle America, and most of the middle of America is predominantly a white crowd," Bennett said Wednesday. "That's just the truth of it. I think race is not something that the NFL wants to be a part of or get behind. But the league is predominantly African-American.

"So the issue that he's dealing with is what we're all dealing with. We all come from the inner city or we've been a part of communities where we felt like we've been judged because of the color of our skin or who we like or if a woman -- any issue to deal with. We've all been dealing with it with someone in our family."

Bennett wore an "I know my rights" T-shirt and hat, expressing support for a campaign started by Kaepernick. He said that he has spent time with Kaepernick this offseason and that almost everyone knows why the quarterback doesn't have a team yet.

"Obviously, there's the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn't signed, and most people know why," Bennett said. "I've said this several times, and I'm not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don't want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of."

The Seahawks were the only team that brought Kaepernick in for a free-agent visit, but they ultimately ended up passing on him. Seattle signed Austin Davis to compete with Trevone Boykin for the backup spot behind Russell Wilson.


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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman stepped to the podium Wednesday for the first time this spring to address the most tumultuous offseason of his NFL career.

He joked with linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was standing in the back, and then spent the next 18 minutes answering 24 questions about trade rumors, QB Russell Wilson and the state of the Seahawks' locker room. There was plenty to digest, but one sentence had to stand out to coach Pete Carroll and the team's brass.

"I might have gone over the top," Sherman said, referring to a pair of sideline blowups directed at coaches last year.

The admission might not seem like much, but Sherman refused to offer that perspective six months ago after a Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Rams. During the game, Sherman got into a shouting match with Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the sideline. Sherman was upset that the offense had attempted a pass from the Rams' 1-yard line.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsRichard Sherman admits that he may have overreacted at the end of last season.

The play brought up bad memories of Seattle's loss to the New England Patriotsin Super Bowl XLIX, which essentially ended with Wilson's interception near the goal line late in the fourth quarter -- a pass play that was run from the Patriots' 1-yard line. After the Rams game, Sherman said repeatedly that he had no regrets and refused to apologize publicly, even though Carroll thought the cornerback was going to.

The uneasy situation hung over the team down the stretch last season. It was not the reason the Seahawks lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round, but it didn't help. After the season, Carroll said the blowups were his biggest regret from 2016. And Sherman's actions were clearly a big reason why the team thought about trading him this offseason.

Whether Sherman is capable of moving on from last season and the Super Bowl loss remains to be seen. What happens if the Seahawks lose 17-6 to the Green Bay Packers in Week 1? What if Wilson throws a pick from the Green Bay 1-yard line? Will Sherman be able to contain himself?

Maybe. Maybe not. But his words Wednesday indicated that he's at least making an effort.

In March, Carroll talked about Sherman's rough 2016 season and said most of the cornerback's issues were "self-inflicted." Sherman was asked what he thought his coach meant.

"He means I hold myself to a high standard, and I'm a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of player," Sherman said. "So I'm competitive as all get-out. That's what he means. He means I'm competitive as anybody out there, and at all times I'm competing. At all times I'm trying to win. At all times I'm trying to push the envelope and push the limits. And it has always been the case -- publicly, privately and elsewhere. So that's what he means. It's never changed, it's never wavered. At times it might have gotten kind of overblown. I might have gone over the top. But he understood where it was coming from, and so did my teammates."

Whether the players realize it or not, this could be the last run with the current core group. Safety Kam Chancellor is entering the final year of his contract. And if the Seahawks considered trading Sherman this offseason, it's possible that they'll look to part ways with him next year, when he'll turn 30.

The organization used four draft picks on defensive backs, signaling that a period of transition is coming at some point soon. It's just a matter of when and how dramatic it will be.

Sherman's every move this season will be analyzed and dissected. Carroll's group of volatile players has made it to the divisional round of the playoffs in five straight seasons. Will they make another run, or will they implode? That will be the story of the 2017 season.

"It's just a competitive team," Sherman said. "And that's why my teammates still ride with me. They're still ride or die. Because good times and bad times, just like a family. Just like any other family. You're going to have good times and bad times, but you show your true colors through the good and the bad. And they ride with me through the good and the bad, and I ride with them through the good and the bad because we've been there. We're battle-tested."

Richard ShermanAP Photo/Elaine ThompsonRichard Sherman downplayed the idea of a rift with Russell Wilson but said quarterbacks get treated differently on every team.

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said Wednesday that he did not request a trade this offseason and that he has a "fantastic" relationship with quarterback Russell Wilson.

"It's just a conversation they have every year," Sherman said. "I guess this year, more people knew about it. It's a conversation they have every year -- everybody's open, everybody's available. They just made sure I knew, and you guys found out. Pretty open about it. It was never a situation where anybody asked for it. It was just a conversation."

Throughout the offseason, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said publicly on multiple occasions that Sherman was available, but they never made a deal.

At one point, Schneider said the reasoning for such a trade would be to free up salary-cap space and get younger on defense.

Sherman was asked why he thought the team considered moving him.

"Because they are always open to possibilities, to hear what people have to say," Sherman said. "If somebody comes with two first-rounders, I wouldn't blame them in the least, you know? I wouldn't blame them at all. It'd be another crazy trade. Who was it that got traded like that? Herschel Walker or something like that?

"But it's just conversation. I think we have a fantastic relationship and always have. And it's always been transparent to have those communications and not have them in a rude or discourteous way, but just professionally."

A recent ESPN The Magazine article detailed division in the Seahawks' locker room and a rift between Sherman and Wilson.

Sherman was asked about his relationship with the quarterback.

"It's fantastic," Sherman said. "We're teammates. It's like a family. It's like everyone else in a family. We fight for one another, just like I'm fighting for the other 52 guys out there; I'm fighting for him, and he's fighting for us. We have a great appreciation for how tough our quarterback is and what he has played through. Last year, he played through a number of injuries, and he's not doing that just because, 'Ah man, I've got to go out there and it's a job.' He's doing that for the guys next to him, and we appreciate that, and we think he is a great quarterback."

Sherman did not deny that Wilson gets treated differently by the coaching staff, but he downplayed the idea, saying quarterbacks get treated differently on every team.

Last season, Sherman got into shouting matches with coaches on the sideline on two occasions. In March, Carroll said many of the issues Sherman had last year were "self-inflicted."

Sherman was asked what he thought Carroll meant and for the first time voiced some regret for the altercations.

"He means I hold myself to a high standard and I'm a heart-on-the-sleeve kind of player," Sherman said. "So I'm competitive as all get out. That's what he means. He means I'm competitive as anybody out there and at all times I'm competing. At all times I'm trying to win. At all times I'm trying to push the envelope and push the limits. And it has always been the case -- publicly, privately and elsewhere. So that's what he means.

"It's never changed. It's never wavered. At times it might have gotten kind of overblown, I might have gone over the top. But he understood where it was coming from, and so did my teammates. So like I said before, it's just the competitiveness -- it's just a competitive team. And that's why my teammates still ride with me. They're still ride or die. Just like any other family. You're going to have good times and bad times, but you show your true colors through the good and the bad. And they ride with me through the good and the bad, and I ride with them through the good and the bad, because we've been there. We're battle-tested."

During a game in December, Sherman openly questioned Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play from the Los Angeles Rams


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Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has spent a lot of time with Colin Kaepernick this offseason and said "it's crazy" that the quarterback still does not have a job.

"To see the impact, I’ve been around great players my whole life and been around them in public, but I’ve never been around a person that everybody in the community walking through the streets, people are just coming up to him," Bennett said during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Salk" show. "I’m like, ‘Man, you’re like Muhammad Ali.’ That’s how big of an impact this guy has had.

Colin KaepernickGary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsColin Kaepernick has a staunch supporter in Seahawks DE Michael Bennett.

"And it’s crazy that he’s not in the NFL. You have guys at the quarterback position who have been accused of sexual assault, players who have been caught drinking, players who have been caught smoking, people with gun charges."

The Seahawks are the only team that brought Kaepernick in for a free-agent visit. But the team did not sign him.

Pete Carroll said he believes Kaepernick is a starter in the NFL. But the team opted to sign Austin Davis to compete with Trevone Boykin as Russell Wilson's backup.

Bennett was asked why he thinks Kaepernick doesn't have a job.

"We know what the reason is," he said. "The reason is because we brought race into sports, and we brought politics into sports. This has always been a problem."video

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Defensive end Michael Bennett defended his quarterback Wednesday, saying the Seattle Seahawks can't win without Russell Wilson under center.

"On a team with competitive people, there are going to be issues that are going to happen," Bennett said during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Salk" show. "There's just a lot of alpha males running around, but everybody supports Russell Wilson. We can't win a game without Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson is a top-five quarterback in the NFL. We cannot win a game without a guy like that."

Bennett's comments come weeks after an ESPN The Magazine article about cornerback Richard Sherman, Super Bowl XLIX and division in the Seahawks' locker room.

Last week, Wilson called Sherman "one of the best teammates" he could ever ask for.

Bennett was asked how Wilson relates to the defensive players on the team.

"Russell relates best to me by just being himself," Bennett said Wednesday. "I think as a human being, you accept the person for who they are. You don't try to change them. You don't make them who you want to make them, who you want them to be. A person that reveals themselves for who they are is who you accept them to be. Russell has revealed himself to me as a great person of great character, a person that gives back and a great leader. Also a great player."


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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas was asked Tuesday when he got over thoughts of retirement and decided he wanted to resume his career after breaking his leg in Week 13 of last season.

"I couldn't tell you exactly at what point," Thomas said. "It was a little bit of everything. I just felt like it wasn't time. I saw Eric Berry get that huge deal. There's never enough of that. So just a lot of things that made me come back."

Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl ThomasAP Photo/Ted S. WarrenEarl Thomas says he should be fully ready for the start of training camp in July.

In February, Berry and the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to terms on a new six-year, $78 million deal with $40 million guaranteed.

Thomas is not in line for a new contract yet, but he could be next offseason. He signed a four-year, $40 million deal extension in 2014 that runs through 2018.

Coming off a tibia fracture in his left leg, Thomas is ahead of schedule in his rehab. He opted to not have surgery in the offseason, participated in Tuesday's minicamp session and estimates that he's at 80 percent.

"When I'm out there doing DB drills, it's an up and down process," Thomas said. "Some days, I leave the facility pissed off because when you don't get any action, I'm like, 'Damn, I'm slipping.' But other days I leave here like a big kid."

Added Pete Carroll, "If this is 80 percent, he's going to be flying when he comes back to camp. He's doing way beyond what we thought he could be."

Thomas said he has no doubts that he'll be ready for the first game of the regular season.

Carroll indicated that Thomas is positioned to be full go for training camp, but the team may play it safe with him.

"I do anticipate that he'll be able to," Carroll said. "I don't know that we'll do that with him. We'll make sure to work our way into it. But there's nothing showing that he can't. So we'll just make sure that he's in really good shape and not pressing early because there's no reason to. But I can't imagine he won't be in great physical condition and mental condition to really take this on."

The Seahawks' defense struggled mightily down the stretch last year. Without Thomas on the field, Seattle gave up 12 touchdowns with one interception, and opposing quarterbacks posted a passer rating of 100.3.

"It was very tough," Thomas said. "You've got your guys out there that you worked so hard with and when you see them not having success like that, you don't want to say you feel sorry for them. You're just pissed off that you can't be out there to help out. I don't know if I would have changed anything, but it just sucks."

RENTON, Wash. -- Pete Carroll said the Seattle Seahawks have "every intention" of getting a long-term extension done with safety Kam Chancellor this offseason.

"We would very much like to work something out," the coach said Tuesday. "We're working at it. And that's really all we'll say. But we are working at it with every intention of taking care of business. It takes awhile. Things take awhile. His frame of mind and our frame of mind are in a really good place. And we're going to work hard to get something done. We'll see if we can."

Chancellor, 29, is entering the final year of his deal. He said he has not yet heard from the team about a new contract.

"I trust their word," Chancellor said. "I trust what they say. I'll just let it happen when it's supposed to happen. And all I can do is control what I can control right now, and that's playing on the field and keeping that camaraderie together with my brothers and just keep building."

Chancellor held out two games into the 2015 season because he wanted a new contract. He signed a four-year, $28 million deal in 2013. Based on the safety market, Chancellor could be in line for a deal worth more than $11 million per season

Chancellor missed four games last season due to injuries but played at a high level. He had surgery to clean out bone spurs in both of his ankles this offseason.

Originally a fifth-round pick in 2010, Chancellor has made four Pro Bowls and is considered the leader of the Seahawks' defense.


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