You would think that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who played at Stanford for Jim Harbaugh's entire tenure, would retain a shred of respect for his college coach of four NCAA seasons. But the All-Pro of two NFL seasons indicated otherwise in an interview Monday night:
“I don’t have a relationship with him. I don’t try to go any route with him. I don’t deal with him; he is not my coach. So I deal with what is going on in Seattle and I keep it there. I think his comments are what they are. We are going to be the bigger team, the bigger players.”
"His comments" is a reference to Jim Harbaugh's response to a June 11 question in which the 49ers head coach said that if you cheat to win, you have already lost:
"It has no place in an athlete's body. Play by the rules. "You always want to be above reproach, especially when you're good, because you don't want people to come back and say, 'They're winning because they're cheating.' ... "If you cheat to win, you have already lost."
Harbaugh's response to the question about the recent rash of PED-induced suspensions -- specifically in Seattle -- started a firestorm.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll -- who has his own history with Harbaugh, dating back to their days at USC and Stanford -- emulated Sherman's claim that they would "be the bigger team" when he took the diplomatic approach and complimented his counterpart, given the opportunity to fire back.
But prior to Sherman's interview Monday on NFL Total Access, a number of teammates made his comment about being the "bigger players" seem foolish. First, cornerback Brandon Browner -- who was suspended for the final four games of last season for PEDs -- said he would put his hands around Harbaugh's neck if they ever lined up against one another. Then, wide receiver Golden Tate said he'd give Harbaugh the "Sean Lee treatment," referring to an illegal blindside hit that earned Tate a $21,000 fine last year.
The 49ers can't claim they've been completely above reproach, however, as free agent linebacker Larry Grant was suspended four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy in April.
The teams are close to two months away from settling things on the field, as they'll meet in Game 2 of the 2013 NFL season on Sept. 15 in Seattle, and again in Week 14, Dec. 8 at Candlestick.