Pete Carroll defends Richard Sherman after postgame tirade

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

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Coach Pete Carroll is the latest person to weigh in on Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's on-field, postgame tirade aimed squarely at 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. In case you're just out of a coma, a quick refresher:

Moments after Sherman broke up a game-tying touchdown pass intended for Crabtree, the outspoken cornerback very loudly explained to Fox Sports' Erin Andrews why he wasn't much of Crabtree fan.

"Well I'm the best corner in the game," Sherman yelled. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me. ... Don't you open your mouth about the best or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick."

(Turns out, the two apparently have a history dating back to the offseason.)

That led to the predictable Twitter backlash, thoughts from other players, and Sherman explaining himself in a column for TheMMQB.com.

On Monday, Carroll, who said he has spoken with Sherman since the post-game interview, offered this:

"We aren't perfect and we all make mistakes," the Seahawks coach said during an appearance on 710 ESPN. "Things don't always come out exactly as we planned."

But then Carroll defended his cornerback.

"You're talking about a guy in a warrior's mentality in the middle of everything," he continued. "He's a fiery guy. That was Richard being Richard in a moment where you would like to pull him to the side and take a knee for a while, then we'll talk to you.

"It's unfortunate that it was so crazed, but that's who he is. His mental make-up to get ready for that matchup was expressed right there so he could play the way he can play. Unfortunately, sharing with the world, it didn't come across so well."

Sherman was criticized by some corners of the Internet because he made the moment about him and not his team, which had just advanced to the Super Bowl. Carroll addressed that, too.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has Richard Sherman's back. (USATSI)
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has Richard Sherman's back. (USATSI)

"We try to stick to Rule No. 1, which is always protect the team," he said. "It's the rule we live by. You always represent us. In a time like that one, it was a little bit representing yourself. How we handle it is we try to grow and learn and work our way through who we are and figure out who we want to be. This was an extraordinary learning opportunity. You'll see some benefit from it. ...

"When you really love somebody and care for them, you do everything you can help them be everything they can be," Carroll said. "At times they are going to make mistakes and break your heart, but if you love them you stay with them. You give [them] the best chance to be all they can be.

"Richard is a wonderful spirit. He's got an amazing heart and he has great sensitivity. He goes all the way to the end of the spectrum when it comes to expressing himself."

On this point there is no dispute.

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