Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Following a poor performance by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a 2016 loss to the Green Bay Packers, cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett reportedly almost got into a physical altercation.
In a feature story on the Seahawks by Greg Bishop and Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, it was noted that there was a rift in the locker room regarding Wilson and the notion that he was coddled by head coach Pete Carroll.
The alleged issue between Sherman and Bennett occurred when Sherman wanted to confront Wilson about his performance in a private meeting, which Bennett objected to.
Things reportedly became so heated between Sherman and Bennett that they “nearly came to blows” and had to be separated.
One former Seahawks player said the following about confronting players during a dip in performance: “That was a common thing to do, because often it was some outside factor affecting guys, family stuff, and you’d work through that.”
The game in question was a 38-10 loss to the Packers that saw Wilson throw for 240 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.
Despite that poor showing, Wilson helped lead the Seahawks to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
Seattle was eliminated in the NFC Divisional Round for the second straight campaign, though, after reaching the Super Bowl the previous two seasons.
Per Bishop and Klemko, much of the tension within the team began when Carroll decided to let Wilson throw the ball rather than handing it to running back Marshawn Lynch in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.
The result was Wilson throwing an interception at the goal line to Malcolm Butler, causing the Seahawks to fall agonizingly short of back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
While Wilson is still in Seattle and performing at an elite level after throwing 34 touchdown passes last season, the once-great Seahawks defense has largely been decimated by trades, free-agent departures, releases and retirements.
Bennett was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles during the offseason, while Seattle released Sherman, and he subsequently signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
The new-look Seahawks will want to bounce back in 2018 after finishing 9-7 last season and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011.