The Seattle Seahawks didn’t get punished for not putting cornerback Richard Sherman on the injury report, but the mini-controversy served its purpose for the NFL.
A few weeks ago, the NFL (or someone who is very familiar with their inner workings) strategically leaked that the Seahawks might be docked a second-round pick for not putting Sherman on the injury report. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the season that Sherman had a torn MCL during the season, but he played and practiced through it. On Tuesday, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo said the Seahawks were issued only a warning, but this incident would be taken into account for future violations.
If we’re being cynical, it’s easy to see what just unfolded. The NFL doesn’t want teams playing games with the injury report. It likely never intended to punish the Seahawks. It’s hard to believe they went from “we’re docking Seattle a second-round pick,” to “no punishment, just don’t do it again.” There’s a big gap there. The league presumably wanted to let the rest of the league know what might happen in the future if anyone messes around with injury report designations. The Seahawks were just a pawn in the process.
The Indianapolis Colts didn’t report some of Andrew Luck’s injuries two years ago and they weren’t punished, so it never made sense that the NFL would punish the Seahawks when Sherman was seemingly in no danger of not playing through his injury. And it’s fair to guess that the NFL never intended to punish Seattle.
But we can assume other teams will now think twice about keeping players’ names off the injury report. Mission accomplished.
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