Richard Sherman's eventful stay at the Seattle Seahawks is at an end after seven seasons, the team have confirmed.
It was reported by NFL network earlier on Friday that the star cornerback, a member of the team that won Super Bowl XLVIII, had been cut.
And the Seahawks confirmed the news via a statement on their official website.
"Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle," the statement read.
Seahawks’ statement on the release of Richard Sherman: pic.twitter.com/iUEv9EArr3— Seattle Seahawks (@seahawksPR) March 9, 2018
"We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a Hawk!"
Sherman himself had alluded to his release with a Tweet showcasing his impressive stats in the NFL.
“Cause ppl talking to me like I’m slowin’ down. Opinions over statistics, of course” pic.twitter.com/nonbj7rQDA— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) March 9, 2018
Rumours gathered pace of Sherman's release early on Friday, with the Seattle Times stating that "barring something unexpected" the Seahawks were likely to cut him from their roster, bringing an end to the stay of one of the most iconic players in the team's history.
By releasing Sherman, the Seahawks will save $11million in salary-cap space for 2018. Doing it by this weekend is a bit of a nod by the team to Sherman, who acts as his own agent, as he would get a jump on looking for a new team ahead of Wednesday's start of the new league year.
Despite coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in November, Sherman, who turns 30 late this month, was not willing to take a pay cut from the Seahawks. The team explored trades but nothing materialised.
According to the Times, Sherman preferred to be released rather than traded, anyway, thus becoming a free agent, so he could choose his next team.
The New England Patriots have a need at cornerback and Sherman is said to be their preferred option.
But the Patriots are likely to face tough competition from four other teams, two from the AFC and two from the NFC - the Los Angeles Chargers, the Tennessee Titans, the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
Meantime, Seattle's series of moves offers some alternatives with their growing cap space.
The Seahawks could look to re-sign defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson or work on safety Earl Thomas' contract. There is speculation, too, that the team might try to rework quarterback Russell Wilson's contract sooner rather than later.
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