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Pete Carroll vs. Jim Harbaugh goes another round


By Brady Henderson

On Friday, a day after the Seahawks’ 13-6 loss to the 49ers, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh questioned whether Seattle’s cornerbacks had gotten away with overly physical play.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was quick to note the irony when asked about Harbaugh’s comments during his weekly conversation with “Brock and Salk” on Monday.

“Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago when they were talking about not doing things like that? The Giants, Kevin Gilbride, or something like that?” Carroll said. “I thought there was something about that where we don’t go out and express our concerns and all.”

Though both coaches have tried to downplay any animosity, handshakes between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh could be a lot more interesting. (AP)

Carroll was referring to the way Harbaugh reacted to comments made by Kevin Gilbride days before the Giants and 49ers met in Week 6. Gilbride, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, was offering an otherwise glowing scouting report on Justin Smith when he said the 49ers’ Pro Bowl defensive lineman “gets away with murder” by holding opposing offensive linemen and preventing them from blocking his pass-rushing teammates.

In response, Harbaugh went so far as to issue a press release through the 49ers that called Gilbride’s comments “outrageous” and “incendiary” – among other strong words – and accused the Giants of trying to influence officiating.

That reaction was what prompted Carroll to call out Harbaugh for his more recent comments. Carroll managed to slip in a few jabs while explaining why he disagreed with Harbaugh’s assessment of how physical cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman got with San Francisco’s receivers Thursday night.

“I think that this was a very normal game for us in terms of how we played, and I’m surprised that he felt like their receivers were so overwhelmed,” Carroll said. “I thought our guys did a good job. There’s always gonna be some calls that you can look at, but our guys played good, solid, hard football. Vernon Davis didn’t get the ball and their receivers didn’t do much, Randy [Moss] got one.

“I’m sure there’s a little frustration there on their part.”

The history between Carroll and Harbaugh, which dates back to their time as coaches in the Pac-10, has been a story heading into all three of their meetings in the NFL. They’ve both tried to downplay any hostility.

Harbaugh chuckled when he got word of Carroll’s “overwhelmed” comment on Monday, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.

“I’m not going to comment on or get paraphrased or let somebody quote somebody else and then have a reaction to it,” Harbaugh told reporters. “I think you pretty much know, we’re from the sticks-and-stones school approach. Calling us names isn’t going to hurt us.”

The Seahawks were flagged five times on Thursday. None were against their defensive backs, a group that has earned a reputation for physical play.

Harbaugh told reporters Friday he was going to seek clarification from the league on what is acceptable when it comes to contact with receivers.

“If the officials look at it, they won’t have anything to even look at. And I don’t think they even need to. It’s a regular game. Our penalties have really been going in the right direction, if you look at it,” Carroll said before noting that the Seahawks have been flagged a combined nine times in their last two games, a major improvement from earlier in the season.

“But I don’t a guy should be able to speak out and go ahead and cause an investigation. It’s too easy. I don’t think it’s gonna happen,” Carroll added.

In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby say a genuine Carroll-Harbaugh rivalry is a good thing for Seahawks fans.

You can listen to Monday’s podcast here.