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Seattle’s injury setbacks give Sherman chance to start

RENTON, Wash. – The surprise is how rookie Richard Sherman ended up as the Seattle Seahawks’ first-team cornerback this week, not necessarily that he will be the starter come Sunday against Cincinnati.

Consider it the process of elimination in Seattle’s secondary.

“The way it’s happening is more the way I wouldn’t have wanted,” Sherman said. “The way (Marcus Trufant) went down, the way (Walter Thurmond) went down is probably not the way I would have wanted it to happen, but it’s happened this way so I try to be prepared for it and do the best I can in this situation.”

Sherman is expected to make his first NFL start this week when the Seahawks return home to host the Bengals and the rookie duo of receiver A.J. Green and QB Andy Dalton. It’s been a quick rise up the Seahawks’ depth chart for the rookie fifth-round pick out of Stanford and mostly out of necessity.

First, Trufant, the Seahawks’ longest-tenured player, went on injured reserve with a recurring back problem that first surfaced in 2009 and was aggravated in Week 4 against Atlanta.

Then, when Seattle returned from its bye last week, Thurmond suffered a broken fibula and significant ankle damage in Cleveland and could be out four to six months.

Now it’s up to Sherman to fill a role he wasn’t expected to be thrust into this season, a rapid rise for the one-time college wide receiver trying to bring those pass-catching smarts to playing defense.

“He has a natural feel for routes and things that allows him to react quicker than the guy that doesn’t have that background and has only been a corner,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

What makes Sherman unique – along with Seattle’s other starting cornerback, Brandon Browner – is his size. Sherman is 6-foot-3 and about 195 pounds while Browner stands 6-4 and 220 pounds. They’re rarities in a league in which the majority of cornerbacks are undersized as compared to the larger receivers.

But the two lack experience. Browner’s entire NFL career is the first six games of this season after spending the past four seasons playing in the Canadian Football League. Sherman only made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback before his senior season at Stanford.


Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said he was fined for headbutting Cleveland tight end Alex Smith in the final minute of last Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Browns. Bryant was ejected from the game. … Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was one of four starters who were limited in practice for the Seahawks, raising the possibility Jackson may miss a second straight game with a pectoral strain. Jackson, running back Marshawn Lynch (back), center Max Unger (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (head/neck) were all limited after each missed last Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Cleveland. … The team released offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus.

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