Not to bring everybody back to earth after such an awesome and dominating win on Sunday Night Football for the Seahawks, but still looming over Richard Sherman's head is the decision on whether or not he'll be on the field once the playoffs begin. Sherman, after having sort of a rough game against Buffalo, showed the nation why he's considered by many to be the top shutdown corner in the NFL right now with Darrelle Revis on the IR.
To go with his interception in the endzone, Sherman also broke up another pass in the endzone on a nearly identical route by Michael Crabtree, batted down two other passes and was there, deep in the endzone playing almost a safety-like role as he helped Jeremy Lane take away a deep shot to Crabtree in the 3rd quarter. The ball was overthrown by Colin Kaepernick, but Sherman and Lane were there to defend it, regardless. The point being, Sherman is really good. Really, really good. Now, I don't disagree with Thomas in that I think the Seahawks' scheme and their great eye for talent at the position has left them in a position to do well even if Sherman is suspended four games, but it would suck to not see him out there come January.
A major part of Sherman's appeal, according to Adam Schefter:
...involved his claim that the cup containing his urine specimen was leaking, prompting the collector to place a second cup underneath it to capture any leakage, the source said. Sherman stated that the second cup's seal already had been broken before being used to stop the leakage from his cup, according to the source. Since the second cup's seal was broken, the chain of custody also was broken, therefore nullifying Sherman's positive test for Adderall. Sherman and his representatives argued that his tested urine sample was contaminated as a result of the second cup. If the collector confirmed the second cup's seal was broken, there would be grounds for Sherman escaping his suspension.
After the game, Sherman commented on the case a little bit, divulging some details for the first time in several weeks.
"I think it went well," Sherman said. "We pleaded our case. We proved that they made procedural errors. That they violated the chain of custody. That the tester grabbed the cup, an unsealed cup, and poured my urine into it. That's a violation, but the league says they can do that and get away with it.
Is he optimistic about getting the suspension overturned? "Incredibly optimistic", actually.
"It should go well. There was a chain of custody mistake. There were mistakes made by the tester," Sherman said. "The league's argument was they're allowed to make mistakes and they're allowed to break the rules and they can get away with it. It's up to them. The appeal officer is paid by the league so if he goes their way, that's what it is. It's not an even playing field in that appeal room."
"I wish I could [dispute it further in another court]. I don't know if it's possible," Sherman said, "because I'd win in a neutral court, but I don't know if I can pursue it further."
At this point, for me, an overturned suspension still seems unlikely, just based on the NFL's track record, but if Sherman's claims of tester error are substantiated, that's pretty frustrating, considering Brandon Browner has been sitting on the bench the last few games (though it's been great to see Lane/Maxwell/Thurmond). Regardless, look for the decision to come down soon. In the meantime, hope the NFL is feeling lenient towards the hottest team in the league right now.