SEATTLE – Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had harsh words for San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree after Sunday's NFC Championship game.
But Sherman said the choke sign he flashed, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after tipping the game-winning interception to teammate Malcolm Smith, wasn't aimed at Crabtree or 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
"No, that was for (Colin) Kaepernick," Sherman said of the 49ers quarterback, who committed turnovers on San Francisco's final three possessions in a game the Seahawks won 23-17, sealing their date with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Sherman was fired up in a postgame interview on Fox, screaming about the final play: "Well, I'm the best player in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get. Don't you ever talk about me."
Asked who was talking about him, Sherman said, "Crabtree. Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm going to shut it for you real quick."
Sherman was more subdued in his postgame podium session but continued to fire shots, saying Crabtree made a personal remark to him in the offseason in Arizona and "he knows I'm going to be tough on him for the rest of his career."
He declined to say what the remark was but made clear he doesn't think much of Crabtree, who finished Sunday's game with four catches for 52 yards and couldn't stop Sherman from turning Kaepernick's final pass into an interception in the end zone with 22 seconds to go.
"Me and Earl (Thomas, the Seahawks safety) had a very heated discussion earlier in the week," Sherman said. "He thought Crabtree was a top-15 receiver. I said he wouldn't break the top 20 and his team, if they had a choice in the top 10, to draft any receiver in a fantasy draft of the whole NFL, they wouldn't pick Crabtree."
Crabtree apparently wasn't impressed.
"I ain't getting into that," said Crabtree, who shoved Sherman in the face after being offered a handshake following the interception. "He knows what time it is. When we were on the field, he isn't doing nothing."
Asked if Sherman showed a lack of respect for him, Crabtree said, "He's a TV guy. I'm not a TV guy. I play ball. He makes one play and he talks. Good play."
Crabtree then took to Twitter for one last response.
"Film don't lie..." Crabtree wrote on Twitter. "@nflnetwork @espn pull up the tape of that game and show me where this guy is the best? #fake #fake #fake"