Back when Matt Patricia first took over as head coach of the Detroit Lions, he was looking to make a splash in free agency to make an immediate impression on the team’s defensive roster. The Lions aggressive pursued free agent cornerbacks, hoping to land a playmaker to start opposite Pro Bowler Darius Slay.
One of the players they pushed hard for was Seahawks all-pro Richard Sherman. They even scheduled a meeting with the veteran player. However, he met with the San Francisco 49ers first, and ended up signing there before formally meeting with Detroit. He took a three-year, $39 million deal from the 49ers on a heavily-criticized, self-negotiated contract that relied heavily on incentives for Sherman.
It turns out he had a better offer waiting for him in Detroit, but Sherman said the culture fit was ultimately what swayed him to stay on the west coast. Per the star corner, the Lions had more guaranteed money for Sherman on the table, but he didn’t believe he’d be a great culture fit with Matt Patricia.
“But that’s not the kind of football I want to play,” Sherman told David Lombardi of The Athletic. “The way you run their scheme, your culture. You want to do it the Patriots’ way and that’s really not the way I do football. I have fun. I like music at practice. I like to hang out and be relaxed in meetings. I don’t like the stressful environment in football. (The Lions) condition every day after practice. My body isn’t built to run all day and night. I’ll be prepared, but I don’t have to be run into the ground.”
Of course, none of this is too surprising. We’ve seen plenty of examples already of Patricia’s and the Patriots’ environment not being for everyone. We’ve seen players come in on one-year deals and have no interest in re-signing with the team after a rough season. We’ve seen players criticize the Patriots Way after getting out from Foxborough. There is no doubt that Patricia’s style isn’t for everyone, just like I’m sure the relaxed style of the 49ers and Seahawks probably isn’t for everyone either.
Still, it’s interesting to see a hard-working, well-respected player like Sherman specifically state that the Patricia culture was exactly why he didn’t come to Detroit. We’ve seen Patricia land some high-priority free agents before, so this isn’t a case where Patricia’s hard-nosed style will prevent him from landing any quality players. But like anything in life, people have their preferences, and it’s clear not everyone wants to deal with the way the Lions’ organization is currently run.