Sherman doubts any punishment ahead for Patriots

PHOENIX (AP) Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman doubts the Patriots will be punished by the NFL if they are found guilty of doctoring footballs in the AFC championship game.

The All-Pro, relishing not being in the ”villain” role for next Sunday’s Super Bowl, stressed the close relationship between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England owner Robert Kraft as his main reason for his skepticism.

Sherman said after defending champion Seattle’s arrival in Phoenix that a ”conflict of interest” exists because of how close Goodell and Kraft are. He noted they ”are taking pictures at each other’s homes.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Saturday the team ”followed every rule to the letter” in preparing footballs on game day. New England arrives in Phoenix on Monday.

AP NFL website: and