It was makeup — and mop-up — day for Pete Carroll with Richard Sherman.
Yes, the Seahawks’ 65-year-old coach loves his team to play, live and act on the edge.
But Sherman appeared to cross over that edge Thursday night. The three-time All-Pro cornerback berated Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play from the 1-yard line during the 24-3 win over Los Angeles that clinched the Seahawks’ third NFC West title in four seasons.
Friday, coach and star made up — at least to hear Carroll tell it.
Carroll said one of the first things he did Friday was meet with Sherman, even though it was the first of three straight days off for Seahawks players. Their talk lasted for an hour. It was, in the coach’s word, earnest.
“We had a terrific meeting today,” Carroll said Friday afternoon at team headquarters. “We addressed the issues of being a disruption or disturbing a moment in the game and all that. And he didn’t want to affect his team that way.”
Carroll said Sherman will be “better than ever” for having gone through this outburst — and its fallout.
Now for mopping up the mess Sherman made in what Carroll termed “a distraction.”
That was the term the coach used earlier in the day, on his weekly day-after show on Seattle’s 710-AM radio.
Carroll told “The Brock and Salk Show” that Sherman knows “that wasn’t right” to call out the offense on the sidelines.
“I understand how passionate he is. ... I love that about him,” Carroll said.
“Sometimes, it goes the wrong way.”
Sherman said after Thursday’s game he was yelling at Carroll, specifically for the offense calling a pass play from the 1 in the third quarter. Los Angeles’ Bryce Hager appeared to intercept Russell Wilson’s throw by ripping the ball from the hands and arms of Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham, but officials ruled Hager and Graham were beyond the back line of the end zone when each touched the ball and thus the pass was incomplete. A replay review upheld that ruling.
The Seahawks found the end zone two plays later, on a 1-yard pass to Doug Baldwin.
Whatever. Sherman was still steamed the offense was passing from the 1.
He, all of the Pacific Northwest and the entire world had seen this before from the Seahawks.
Remember the ending of Super Bowl 49 at the 1-yard line. Carroll said Friday he also still thinks about the New England Patriots intercepting Wilson at the end of that title game instead of the Seahawks handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch.
“I don’t like it when we throw the ball at the 1,” Sherman said at his locker late Thursday, still in full uniform and wearing an NFC West champions cap 20 minutes after the game. “We threw an interception at the 1, and luckily it went incomplete. And I wasn’t going to let them continue to do that.
“I was letting Pete know.”
Sherman eventually needed defensive coordinator Kris Richard to separate him from Bevell. Bevell yelled back at Sherman.
Teammate Kam Chancellor came in front of Sherman to try to calm him. Linebacker Bobby Wagner eventually, playfully, jumped on Sherman’s back to try to encourage him to rejoin the rest of the defense before it took the field for the Rams’ ensuing drive after the touchdown.
“I’m upset about us throwing from the 1,” Sherman said. “I’d rather do what most teams would do and make a conscientious decision to run the ball straight up the middle.”
Sherman was asked if he has earned the right to call out a coach.
“One-hundred percent,” he said. “We go out there. We sacrifice. We battle.
“You don’t give away our battle. You honor our sacrifice.”
Or: They coach, you play.
Ripping a coach for all to see, while he’s still trying to call plays, is not a recipe to win a second Super Bowl.
This is the second time this season Sherman has made a public display of what on most teams would be considered insubordination. During a game against Atlanta in October, Sherman roared at Richard on the same sideline following a blown coverage that resulted in the Falcons’ Julio Jones scoring a touchdown.
The optics of Sherman’s venting? Bad.
Was it indeed insubordination?
“I think if we weren’t able to come back from that, I think so,” Carroll said. “I think it would depend on how the meeting (Friday) 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. I know how he feels about it, and I’m fine about what happened.
“That doesn’t mean that it was OK. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that needed to be addressed. He’s 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.”
The bigger picture means more. Seattle (9-4-1) won another division title and will have a home playoff game. It still has two games against Arizona (5-7-1) on Christmas Eve and at San Francisco (1-12) on New Year’s Day to get its offense more consistent before the playoffs begin next month — and, thus, maybe make Sherman happier by then.
This fight and making-up could prove to be a mere sideshow on the Seahawks’ march into the playoffs.
But in the meantime, Sherman’s latest outburst seems the product of one of the NFL’s best defenses waiting for the offense to catch up — and allow Seattle to realize whatever its full potential may still be.
GOOD REPORTS ON BENNETT, RYAN
Carroll said the team got good reports Friday on DE Michael Bennett (neck) and P Jon Ryan (concussion).
Bennett went into the locker room Thursday after the shoulder pad of Rams RB Todd Gurley slammed into the side of the Pro Bowl defensive end’s helmet in the fourth quarter. Carroll said Bennett got his neck “wrenched” and does not have a head injury. Bennett said following the game he is OK.
Ryan went to the hospital for a concussion after he got hit at the end of a 26-yard run out of punt formation against the Rams. His wife Sarah Colonna posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon a picture of Ryan sitting down with a menu to order at a restaurant. “Definitely can’t knock the brunch out of him,” the comedian wrote. She wrote in another post the punter had “a bit of a headache” and was “excited to have a beer later.”
Carroll said it would take into next week to determine if the Seahawks will need to sign a free-agent punter to replace Ryan for the Cardinals game Dec. 24.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle