Seahawks coach Pete Carroll may be seeking to thaw the frosty relationship between his team and the division rival 49ers.
Asked in an interview on NFL Network about the war of words that has erupted between his team and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, Carroll didn’t take the bait and instead talked about how much respect he has for the defending NFC West champions.
“They’re a great program,” Carroll said of the 49ers. “They’ve done a marvelous job since Jim took over and they’ve done it all on the field. We respect that our division has really changed, we’ve changed along with it, and every single game we play is the biggest rival that we would ever know. . . . They’ve done some really cool things and play exciting football, and we love matching up with the division.”
Carroll and Harbaugh have had a rivalry dating back years, since before either of them were in their current jobs. In 2009, Carroll angrily asked Harbaugh, “What’s your deal?” when Harbaugh’s Stanford team ran up the score against Carroll’s USC team, and the two of them haven’t hidden the fact that while they may respect each other as coaches, they don’t particularly like each other.
But Carroll also seems to recognize that a public war of words with Harbaugh isn’t a wise idea, especially considering that the subject of the latest back-and-forth between the two teams, focusing on the Seahawks having several players test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, doesn’t exactly cast Carroll’s team in a positive light. And so Carroll is offering up a positive view of the Seahawks’ chief rivals.
Which will do nothing to diminish the rivalry when the teams meet on the field this season.