Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says he heard what he needed to hear from Richard Sherman during an hour-long meeting Friday morning to put Sherman's outburst from Thursday night into the past.
It was Richard Sherman’s reaction during a private meeting Friday morning with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll that ultimately mattered more to Carroll than how Sherman reacted during and after the team’s 24-3 win over the Rams Thursday night.
And when Carroll met with the media later Friday, he implied that Sherman avoided potential punishment during a meeting that he said “went very well.”
Sherman erupted into a yelling and finger-pointing outburst during the third quarter, upset about a call to pass from the 1-yard-line rather than run. He then didn’t back down from that sentiment after the game, confirming to reporters he was upset with the offensive playcalling in that situation — a pass to Jimmy Graham that was almost intercepted by the Rams initially set Sherman ablaze.
“We already know how that goes,’’ Sherman said of passing from the 1-yard-line, a reference to the interception that cost Seattle Super Bowl XLIX. “I’m upset about us throwing from the 1. I’d rather do what most teams would do and make a conscientious decision to run the ball straight up the middle.”
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Sherman, who during the outburst could be seen gesturing toward offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, then said defensive players had the right to question offensive play calls.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “One hundred percent. We go out there, we sacrifice, we battle. We don’t give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice.”
Carroll called Sherman in for a meeting Friday and hinted that had Sherman not responded the way he hoped that his approach to the incident and to Sherman moving forward would have been different.
Instead, Carroll said he felt he and Sherman worked out the situation and implied that he is willing to put it in the past.
“I think if we weren’t able to come back from that, I think so,’’ Carroll said when asked if he could have considered Sherman’s actions as insubordination. “I think it would depend on how the meeting went. The meeting went very well and it was very clear and I know the guy I’m talking to. I know him as well as you can know a guy. And I know how he feels about it and I’m fine about what happened. That doesn’t mean that it was okay, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t something that needed to be addressed –– he was the only guy that was in my office this morning. So we went right after it and I was going to make my decision on how to move forward based on what happened and how we communicated and I feel very good about it.’’
Carroll called it “a terrific meeting’’ with Sherman and attributed his outburst to having been “really emotional’’ during the game. He said Sherman expressed remorse for detracting from a night in which the Seahawks clinched the NFC West, saying “he didn’t want to affect his team the way he did. He didn’t want to do that.’’
Carroll implied that Sherman will make a statement about the situation at some point, saying “I want to let Richard really speak for himself when he has a chance. … But I feel very good about the exchange that we had and he really wants to do everything he can to help his team.’’ Sherman is scheduled to hold his weekly meeting with the media on Tuesday in advance of next Saturday’s game against Arizona.
The outburst continued what has been an eventful year for Sherman.
He was surprisingly angry after a 37-18 win over the 49ers in week three, saying later he was upset at how the Seahawks had let San Francisco score two late touchdowns, in part because the Seahawks were blitzing on run downs. “Well, that’s the way they called it,” Sherman said a few days later of how the 49ers had been able to move on two late drives.
He then blew up at defensive coordinator Kris Richard in a win over Atlanta following a play when miscommunication led to a Falcons’ touchdown. Sherman apparently felt he was being initially improperly blamed for the mishap.
That Sherman was now visibly criticizing the offense could be seen, though, as crossing a different line.
Carroll didn’t specifically address his thoughts on Sherman criticizing the offense versus the defense, while saying “they are two totally different instances. This guy cares as much as you can care. That doesn’t mean he does everything right all the time. It doesn’t mean he’s bad because he does make mistakes. This is the guy he is right now and he’s learning how to grow and be a good man.”
Carroll called it “a great opportunity’’ for Sherman to understand how to handle such situations moving forward. “The teachable moment came up and seized it and I’m really excited about it because he’s going to be better than ever,” Carroll said.
But asked if he was confident that Sherman wouldn’t have a similar outburst again, Carroll laughed and said “no, no. I wouldn’t say confident. I don’t know. I love this guy and I love who he is and what he’s all about and the man that he has grown to be and he is going to become and all. These are all great lessons and opportunities to learn and he has a lot to offer the world and I am proud to say that he is growing and learning and he is getting better and so this was a good instance for him to check it and figure that out and make the right decision on how to move forward and he is going to do that.’’
Sherman, who has become a foundation piece of Seattle’s defense since being drafted in the fifth round in 2011, has also made a few comments in recent weeks that could be portrayed as taking jabs at the offense, notably saying after last Sunday’s 38-10 loss to Green Bay about the impact of the loss of free safety Earl Thomas that it had little to do with the result because “I mean, we turn the ball over six times. You can’t play both sides.’’
Carroll, though, said he was not concerned about a rift between the offense and defense, saying when asked about that simply “I’m not worried about it.’’
Instead, Carroll said of the team’s chemistry that “I love where we are. I have all the way back to the Carolina game (the loss in the divisional playoffs last season when the Seahawks fell down 31-0 before rallying to within 31-24). It really was halftime of the Carolina game when the character really showed and it hasn’t wavered since, it’s only gotten better and stronger and clear. We just have a really good sense about these guys and they have a good sense about one another. And with that we have a chance to win some games here. We have a few games left. We have a chance to keep going.’’