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AP/Patrick Semansky

When you're literally a yard away from winning your second consecutive Super Bowl and find a way to lose, there can't be many feelings worse than that aside from watching Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels.

The play that will forever live in Patriots lore, Malcolm Butler's goal line interception to win Super Bowl XLIX, still haunts Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to this day.

Usually, time heals wounds. But not this one. Sherman, as I'm sure is the case with many of his Seahawks teammates, have not gotten over that loss. He reportedly puts most of the blame on Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson.

ESPN:

And with just one trophy and the window closing fast, he has placed responsibility for that failing on the two faces of the franchise: Wilson and Carroll. Sherman, who like Wilson declined comment for this story, thinks Carroll hasn't held Wilson or many young Seahawks to the defense's championship standard. He's been disillusioned not only by that single play more than two years earlier but also by his coach's and quarterback's response to it.

It's no secret that Sherman is a hothead. Who could forget his famous post-game rant after the 2013 NFC Championship Game when Seattle beat the defending conference champion 49ers to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII?

It seems the pain of losing to Tom Brady and company, coupled with his bombastic personality, is leading to the Seahawks' demise. This is probably part of the reason the team was open to trading him just before last month's NFL Draft.

Last season, Sherman seemed to be picking fights over very little things.

Tension flared at strange times last season, blowing little issues into big ones. One day, Sherman walked into a team meeting and found rookie guard Germain Ifedi sitting at a desk. That's a no-no. Rookies sit on the floor; veterans get the desks. Sherman lorded over him, but Ifedi did what Sherman might have done as a rookie: He stayed at the desk.

Finally, Sherman broke: "Get up." Ifedi stood up and knocked over the desk, tossing it aside. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Ifedi stared at the 6-3, 195-pound Sherman as if ready to throw down. Ifedi eventually stepped aside, but Sherman later told friends that he saw the incident as emblematic of a bigger problem. The offense, led by Wilson, was in the midst of a season in which it would score fewer than 13 points five times, but the only players being held to the lofty standard created by the defense were the members of it.

A lot of what Sherman went through last season likely has more to do with his team struggling at times than it does with losing Super Bowl XLIX. Having that loss in the back of your mind certainly doesn't help, though.

However, Seattle's championship window is closing. Sherman, at age 29, probably doesn't have a lot of elite years left and it's defense wasn't what it was just a few years ago despite it still being a very solid unit.

If the Seahawks don't win the Super Bowl this year, will they start to blow parts of their team up? How long will Sherman last?

This story appears on ESPN.com and will be featured in ESPN The Magazine's June 12th issue. 

Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce

For more of my articles, click here.

Jesse Gaunce 5/25/2017 02:38:00 PM Edit
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