Seahawks' Sherman sorry his postgame tirade took center stage
January 20, 2014 11:26 PM
Harry How/Getty Images
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman celebrates after the Seahawks beat New Orleans in an NFC divisional playoff.
By Tim Booth / Associated Press
RENTON, Wash. -- Coach Pete Carroll pulled Richard Sherman aside Monday and made sure his fiery cornerback understood that his rant against San Francisco's Michael Crabtree was overshadowing the Seattle Seahawks reaching their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
Sherman seemed to get Carroll's message.
"He was really clear that the last thing he wanted to do was take something away from our team, what we had accomplished," Carroll said.
Sherman became the focal point of attention -- both positive and negative -- after Seattle beat San Francisco, 23-17, Sunday to win the NFC title.
Sherman already was in the spotlight for what he did on San Francisco's final offensive play, twisting his body to deflect a pass intended for Crabtree into the air and allowing time for teammate Malcolm Smith to run over and make an interception in the end zone to clinch the Seahawks victory.
The athleticism on the play was worthy of praise. But Sherman's antics from that point drew praise from some for being honest and unfiltered and criticism from others for being too harsh and combative.
"This is a very emotional kid, and that's what drives him," Carroll said. "We did sit down and talk about it because I want him to present himself in his best light. He's an incredible kid.
"He has a great sense about things and understanding and sensitivity and awareness. And he cares, and he's a very thoughtful person, so, when he puts out those kind of thoughts, he has to know what he's saying and understand it. And I think he's very understanding at this point that he caused a stir that took away from the team."
Sherman had been rarely targeted by the 49ers, with most of Colin Kaepernick's passes being thrown in the direction of other cornerback Byron Maxwell.
But, in the final minute, Kaepernick took a shot to the end zone with Crabtree and Sherman matched up one-on-one.
Sherman won the matchup, staying in position to deflect the pass and have it fall into Smith's hands, similar to a tipped interception from Sherman to safety Earl Thomas in Week 15 against the New York Giants.
Except this was far more meaningful.
But Sherman didn't let the celebration end with Smith and his teammates. Sherman ran over to Crabtree and gave him a pat on the backside, then appeared to extend his arm for a handshake.
Instead, Sherman got shoved in the face before picking up his personal foul as his celebration continued. The taunt included a choking gesture in the direction of Kaepernick.
Asked about the incident afterward by Fox reporter Erin Andrews, Sherman lit up social media with a rant that began: "I'm the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you gonna get. Don't you ever talk about me!"
And Sherman didn't back down later, apologizing to Andrews but calling Crabtree "mediocre." He said his issues with Crabtree went back to an incident in the offseason.
Carroll said he viewed the situation as a father talking to his son and wanted Sherman to realize more thought should have gone into what he said.
"There's some stuff in there I think you should think about and did you really want it to come out the way it did and talk our way through that," Carroll said. "And he didn't. He didn't feel right about that.
"There were a lot of great things that happened last night, and we're talking about some other stuff."
In a text message to ESPN, Sherman reportedly said: "I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates. ... That was not my intent."
Earlier Monday, Sherman told ESPN Radio: "Obviously, I could have worded things better and could obviously have had a better reaction and done things differently. ... But it is what it is now, and people's reactions are what they are."
NOTE -- Carroll said receiver Percy Harvin (concussion) could be cleared to practice later this week and is expected to be ready for the Super Bowl. Harvin was injured in the first half of Seattle's divisional playoff win against New Orleans.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.