By Brady Henderson
The rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers was already becoming the best in the NFL thanks to some exceedingly physical games in recent seasons, their battle for NFC West supremacy and the history between their head coaches.
The verbal shots exchanged through the media this offseason have been icing on the cake.
A week after Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner said he’d like to put his hands around Jim Harbaugh’s neck if he were ever lined up across from the 49ers head coach, wide receiver Golden Tate gave a less hostile but equally quotable response of his own when he joined “Bob and Groz” on Friday and was asked what he would do in that situation.
“I’d be on offense trying to score a touchdown on him. Defensively, that’s a little different because they tackle and they can really be aggressive. I’m 5-10 and 195 pounds; I’m not going to try to run over anyone,” he said before referring to one of the more memorable moments of the 2012 season.
“But I would try to give him the Sean Lee treatment. I would do that.”
For anyone who missed the Seahawks’ Week 2 win over the Cowboys, that’s a reference to the
vicious blind-side block Tate threw on Dallas’ middle linebacker in the fourth quarter, a hit that was so hard it sent Lee into the air and onto his backside, briefly knocking him out of the game.
Browner’s comments were made in response to what Harbaugh had said publicly about the Seahawks’ recent string of suspensions stemming from positive tests for performance-enhancing substances. Browner, one of five Seahawks suspended for PEDs since 2011, took exception.
“I don’t have anything for it,” he said. “At the end of the day we gotta win football games. He’s a coach. He’s never gonna be out there lined up against me. I wish he would; I’d put my hands around his neck. At the end of the day, I’m about winning football games.”
This is becoming business as usual for two teams that reside in the same division, are good enough to be considered Super Bowl contenders and seem to genuinely dislike each other even outside of a competitive setting. The games themselves haven’t been bad, either.
“The San Francisco game, since I’ve been here, it’s been a really, really intense game for the fans and also the players. It’s a fun game. We’re both really, really good teams right now, we have a lot in common with the playmakers, defensively really good …,” Tate said.
“But it’s a fun game to be a part of. Very, very physical and on the field a lot of emotion. That comes from Pete [Carroll] and Harbaugh facing each other in college and a lot of the players on the teams have seen each other. So it’s fun. I enjoy it.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson