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Richard Sherman released by Seattle Seahawks

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Richard Sherman's marvelous and memorable run in Seattle is over.

Sherman told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero he has been released by the Seahawks after seven seasons in the Pacific Northwest. Sherman's departure opens up $11 million in salary-cap space for the roster-churning 'Hawks.

During an interview with KIRO-FM's Gee Scott on Friday, Sherman said, "We've had conversations and they've told me that they're going to allow me to go into free agency.

"But they want me to understand that the door's open for me to return. They're just trying to do what they need to do to clear up space and give me and them the best chance at free agency, and I've got to appreciate and respect that."

The Seahawks later Friday put out a statement on Sherman's release:

"Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle. We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a 'Hawk!"

The move comes as little surprise after NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday that Sherman didn't expect to be on the roster in 2018. The 29-year-old cover man spent the week saying his goodbyes to teammates.

NFL Network's Michael Silver also noted Wednesday on NFL Total Access that Sherman's official departure would come before the weekend.

Coach Pete Carroll said at last week's NFL Scouting Combine there was "nothing specific" to report on the concept of trading Sherman. He's not an easy player to move right now, set to turn 30 later this month and coming off a ruptured Achilles that forced him to miss the final seven games of the season.

Sherman also underwent a recent operation to clean up his left Achilles, but the three-time All-Pro expects to be back on the field come June.

Whether or not he returns to Seattle boils down to his market, but the Seahawks are clearly open to moving on from one of the team's most celebrated defenders -- a player who ranks No. 18 in NFL.com's Top 101 Free Agents in 2018. Along with cutting Sherman, Seattle shipped defensive lineman Michael Bennett to the Eagles and could be without injured pass-rusher Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor -- another reminder the team's vaunted Legion of Boom is all but history. Seattle is also releasing cornerback Jeremy Lane, Rapoport reported Friday.

Sherman's celebrated run in Seattle was nothing short of stunning, powerful and captivating.

The four-time Pro Bowler still leads the league with 32 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2011 as a fifth-round draft pick. Sherman also stands above the rest in passes defensed (99) and completion percentage allowed (47.4) during that span (min. 300 targets), per NFL Research.

The passes defensed mark stands out because Sherman spent games at a time with quarterbacks simply avoiding him in coverage. If he's not the same player he was a few seasons ago, receivers still fear his next-level ability to wipe away pass-catchers from the game plan.

Off the field, Sherman was equally colorful, curious and outspoken, quickly morphing into one of the league's biggest stars on a team that encouraged him to be himself.

If he doesn't return at a discount, Sherman immediately becomes one of the most impactful Seahawks in team history. Not an easy figure for fans to say farewell to.

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