Given every opportunity to extinguish the Seahawks’ latest hot-button issue, Richard Sherman saw no reason to.
Instead, he allowed it to simmer.
On the day he was selected to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, the outspoken defensive back defiantly defended his fiery actions from a sideline spat he sparked during the team’s 24-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday at CenturyLink Field.
Irate over a play call in the second half near the Rams’ goal line — a pass to tight end Jimmy Graham that was nearly intercepted — Sherman blew his top and began lambasting offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and coach Pete Carroll over the decision.
Two plays later, Seattle scored on Russell Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin.
The incident prompted Carroll to have a sitdown meeting with Sherman on Friday morning , and both sides said it was productive. Sherman also met with Bevell on the same day.
But on Tuesday, Sherman held true to his actions during his weekly press conference from the VMAC, saying he was in “protect the team” mode.
“Sometimes things need to happen,” Sherman said. “And people need something to talk about this week. It worked out. The way our team works, it worked out fine.”
So off and running was Sherman in his 14-minute press conference, which featured 42 questions. Most of them focused on the sideline spat.
: Did he seek input from teammates about the incident? Did he worry if this could end up being a divisive issue in the locker room? Did he regret how he handled the situation or feel his actions qualified as insubordination?
All were met with the same answer: “Umm, no.”
Sherman went on to explain that this locker room is rock solid in understanding the meaning behind the message.
“It’s unique within winning teams,” Sherman said. “On losing teams, there is a selfishness in what you are saying. You can feel the animosity when someone says something. When you are on a winning team, everyone knows it’s coming from a good place.”
For the first time Tuesday, Bevell gave his account of what transpired during the Rams’ game.
He said on the first pass to Graham, Sherman was far down the sideline and out of view. When the offense scored the touchdown, the longtime Seahawks assistant walked to the area where he usually meets with Wilson after drives.
That is when he made eye contact with Sherman, whom he could tell was full-blown angry.
“I could not make out what he was saying,” Bevell said. “But I knew he was animated.”
Bevell did his best not to fan the flames of this controversy, saying he was “comfortable” with their meeting Friday.
But when asked if he felt it was right for a defensive player to call out an offensive coach, Bevell went silent for a few seconds to gather his thoughts.
“No, I don’t,” Bevell said in a quiet tone.
Make no mistake, this is still a topic around Seahawks’ headquarters that evokes strong emotion.
By the end of Sherman’s press conference, even he grew testy.
When a Seattle-area radio host asked what gave Sherman the license to second-guess an offensive play call, he answered, “prior experience (from the Super Bowl).”
Then Sherman got combative.
“But let me guess, you have a better play call? Let me guess, you have better experience?”
As Sherman exited the podium, he scolded the radio host: “You don’t want to go there … I will ruin your career.”
Later Tuesday, Sherman went to Twitter and said the exchange got personal and that he regretted it.
The apology, however, will need to wait.