RENTON – The Seahawks had five players named to the NFC Pro Bowl team Wednesday, and while that total was a compliment to Seattle’s success, it didn’t include the player who might be having the best season on the team.
Cornerback Richard Sherman was not among the three cornerbacks named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster. Center Max Unger and left tackle Russell Okung were named Pro Bowl starters, safety Earl Thomas and running back Marshawn Lynch were designated backups, and Leon Washington will be the conference’s kick returner.
And while Seattle’s fans were buzzing about Sherman’s omission, he wasn’t in his message he addressed to the Seahawks’ 12th Man via Twitter, tongue firmly in cheek: “Don’t be mad 12s. I obviously didn’t play well enough to make it. All good.”
Chicago’s Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman were named the Pro Bowl starters, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson the backup. Sherman — who is tied for second in the league with seven interceptions — was one of eight Seahawks named an injury alternate, but he might not be eligible to play in the game. If his appeal of a positive test for a banned substance is declined and he must serve a four-game suspension this season, he would be ineligible for the Pro Bowl. A decision on that appeal could come as soon as today.
But because Sherman has not been suspended, his omission was the result of the Pro Bowl voting, which includes fans, players and coaches. Sherman was No. 3 among fan voting, meaning it was the votes from other players and coaches that resulted in the omission.
“Congrats to all our Pro Bowl players!” Sherman wrote on his Twitter account after the rosters were announced. Seattle had the same number of players named to the Pro Bowl as the 2-13 Chiefs did in the AFC, and Thomas was the only player from the Seattle defense — which has allowed a league-low 232 points — to be included on the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster.
Seattle had five players play in the Pro Bowl last year, but only Thomas was initially announced as part of the NFC’s roster. Lynch, fullback Michael Robinson, cornerback Brandon Browner and strong safety Kam Chancellor were included as injury replacements. Robinson and Chancellor are again alternates, but Browner is not eligible to play in the game as he has one game left on his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Seattle has eight players this year who could be tabbed as injury replacements. First alternates: DE Chris Clemons, Robinson and Sherman; Second alternates: Heath Farwell (special teams), P Jon Ryan and Chancellor; Third alternate: QB Russell Wilson; Fourth alternate: DT Brandon Mebane.
The Seahawks don’t know what to expect with regard to Sherman’s availability this week. For that very reason, Seattle changed its practice repetitions at left cornerback Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll said.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Carroll said, “so we’re not going to go blindly into it so we are going to get our guys in the rotation a little differently. It won’t change much, though.”
Sherman appealed a positive test for a banned substance. If his appeal is denied, he is expected to face a four-game suspension.
Sherman said Wednesday he has not heard from the league regarding the outcome of his appeal. Rookie Jeremy Lane has started at right cornerback the past two weeks in place of Browner. Byron Maxwell also is available, and Marcus Trufant was practicing Wednesday after missing the past four games because of a hamstring injury. Walter Thurmond, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, remains out of practice, however.
LB Malcolm Smith was able to practice Wednesday despite suffering from a sore groin following the victory Sunday over San Francisco. Leroy Hill did not practice because of a sore hamstring. WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant were not expected to practice today, though Carroll remained optimistic both would be back in time for the game Sunday. “We’ve got to make sure and manage them through the week,” Carroll said. RB Marshawn Lynch also sat out practice with a sore back, but it’s not unusual for him to be limited early in the week and still play in the game. T Breno Giacomini (elbow) and TE Anthony McCoy (back) also sat out practice.