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SEATTLE – Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed that he’s been in communication with Richard Sherman, but said a reunion with the former All-Pro cornerback isn’t currently in the works.

“That’s not one of our thoughts right now that we’re going out and getting another guy at that spot, but we’re going to keep looking,” Carroll said Saturday, after the Seahawks took Oklahoma CB Tre Brown with one of their three draft picks. “We’re not going to stop looking and we’re going to compete. So in that sense, I leave everything open and that’s just one of them.”

The 33-year-old Sherman is a free agent after spending the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Friday, he said a return to San Francisco isn’t out of the question and listed the Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders as other teams with which he’s had communication.

“I’ve got to wait through this draft process,” he told Smith. “Obviously, the first round, a lot of teams got corners, some teams didn’t get the corners they wanted and I think once this draft process completes my phone will ring a little more with people who expected to get a guy and didn’t get the guy they wanted. I’m not as in control as I was. At 33, it’s just like, it doesn’t matter what you put on tape.”

Sherman suggested that his age is the reason he’s unsigned, saying: “It doesn’t matter accolades you have, what you put on tape, the numbers — it’s just age sometimes. So I’ve just got to continue to stay in shape, continue to stay ready … I’m being patient and doing everything I can.”

Sherman made four Pro Bowls and was named a First Team All-Pro in three of his seven seasons with Seattle, rising from a fifth-round pick in 2011 to become a key member of the defense that led the Seahawks to their lone Super Bowl championship and a near repeat the next year.

He suffered a torn Achilles in 2017 and was released that offseason with one year left on his contract. The 49ers then signed him to a three-year deal that just expired. Sherman made his fifth career Pro Bowl in 2019 but missed 11 games last year with a calf injury.

“I’ve talked to Sherm quite a few times here over the offseason,” Carroll said. “So we have stayed in contact and he’s out there. I know he’s thinking about it. He’s looking for an opportunity. I saw where he said there’s three or four teams he’s considering or whatever. So we’ll see what happens. But he’s been a great player and he’s still got some ball left in him, I’m sure. But at this point we’re going to clear through this day, figure out what happens with the rooks coming up and we’ll see where it sits later on.”

The Seahawks took Brown in the fourth round, addressing what was widely considered one of their top needs heading into the draft and perhaps their most pressing one after taking wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round. The Seahawks signed Sherman’s former 49ers teammate Ahkello Witherspoon after losing Shaquill Griffin in free agency. Their cornerback group includes another ex-49er in D.J. Reed as well as Tre Flowers, Damarious Randall and Pierre Desir, among others.

Carroll and general manager John Schneider both characterized their relationship with Sherman as strong and his departure from Seattle as not being as acrimonious as observers believed it to be. Sherman and Carroll occasionally talk about matters related and unrelated to football, according to the coach, and exchanged good-natured ribbing when their teams met in recent seasons.

“We have stayed in touch for a long time,” Carroll said, “and I don’t think that should surprise you because just think about all of the guys that have left here that had done so much for this program and our area and all of that. Whether they’re still playing or they’re not playing, we’ve maintained I think really significant relationships and Sherm’s one of them.”

Schneider said Sherman is “always going to be a Seahawk” and that he has the organization’s support.

“It wasn’t as bad as everybody thought it was when he left,” Schneider said. “I was literally talking to him probably 10 minutes before he went in and agreed with the San Francisco 49ers and talking in a very positive manner. It’s been good.”

Sherman told ESPN’s Smith in February that he wants to play two more seasons.

“I want to get on a competitive team,” he told Smith. “I think I still have a lot to give to the game. I think I still have a lot that I want to accomplish and I think I can go out there and help a defense come together like it should and reach their potential, reach the heights that the defenses that I’ve played on have reached.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers release guard David DeCastro, agree to terms with Trai Turner

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The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Thursday that they released six-time Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro.

DeCastro was released with a non-football injury designation.

The Steelers later agreed to terms with former Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner on a one-year deal, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 31-year-old DeCastro has been battling ankle issues and is evaluating whether surgery is required, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, adding that retirement is a strong option for him.

He didn’t participate in minicamp recently. When asked a week ago about DeCastro, coach Mike Tomlin said, “If I thought injury circumstances or reasons why people were not participating were significant, I would share them with you.”

DeCastro was in the final year of his contract with a $14.2 million cap hit. Releasing him saves the Steelers $8.75 million in cap space. He was the Steelers’ first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2012 draft.

“David was without a doubt one of the premier offensive linemen during his time with us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “He helped us win a lot of football games, but it was David’s consistency, reliability and professionalism that stood out more than anything else. We wish him the best moving forward in his career.”

DeCastro missed the first two games of 2020 with lingering knee issues but appeared in 13 of Pittsburgh’s final 14 games.

With DeCastro’s release, the Steelers will have one returning starter on the offensive line: Chukwuma Okorafor, who is likely moving from last season’s spot on the right side to left tackle. Kevin Dotson also started for DeCastro a few times last season, but he’s slated to be the left guard.

The Los Angeles Chargers released Turner in March after first attempting to trade him. Turner, 28, was limited to nine games last season because of a groin injury, but he said recently he was “back at 100 percent.”

Turner had no guaranteed money left on a four-year, $45 million extension he signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2017.

Turner was selected to five Pro Bowls in his first six NFL seasons. Chosen in the third round of the 2014 draft by Carolina, he has played in 93 career games with 89 starts.

ESPN’s Brooke Pryor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle says tight ends ‘do everything,’ deserve respect

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle feels it’s time to put some respect on his position. That’s why he made it a point to gather 49 NFL tight ends together for this week’s Tight End University.

The program, which Kittle is conducting along with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and former tight end Greg Olsen, began Wednesday and will continue through Friday in Nashville.

“100% it does,” Kittle told ESPN when asked if the way his position is being undervalued bothers him. “I think TE is the most unique and diverse position. It’s the most fun position because it’s the only one on the field where you get to do everything that a football player does. You run block, you pass pro, you get to run routes and catch the football. We do everything!”

Kittle said his position deserves a little more recognition, given how players such as himself, Kelce and others have become focal points of NFL offenses.

The group of tight ends at TEU got to share trade secrets in hopes of collectively helping each other sharpen their playmaking ability. The summit offered on-the-field workouts, film-study sessions and some evening activities.

“I’m a big believer that you surround yourself with good people which brings the best out of you. We’re sharing our strategy with guys. Our mindsets, how you approach the game. All of this is for the tight end position to take a step forward. I’m excited that we have such a great group of guys,” Kittle said.

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Alternate helmet approved by NFL for use with throwback uniforms in 2022, sources say

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The NFL on Thursday approved that teams can wear alternate helmets with their throwback uniforms starting in 2022, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Teams have been limited to one helmet since 2013, when the rule was put in place for safety reasons.

According to ProFootballTalk, the second helmet could also be used with an alternate or Color Rush uniform.

But allowing an additional helmet design would likely be most popular with throwback looks, which could include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ white helmet with an orange buccaneer logo, the New England Patriots‘ Pat Patriot look and the Tennessee Titans‘ Oilers throwback.

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