Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh downplay personal rivalry

With Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh facing off for the first time in the NFL ranks, it’s fun to revisit the last game between those two when Harbaugh’s Stanford team trounced USC 55-21 in 2009. Late in that game, Harbaugh elected to go for two despite having a big lead, and that led to a rather, um, uncomfortable postgame handshake.

Both sides, however, have been trying to downplay any personal feud ever since Harbaugh took the 49ers job. On a conference call Wednesday, Harbaugh said this about the incident:

“He said ‘What’s your deal?’ I said, ‘What’s your deal?’ Then from there it was about as well documented a six-word sentence as there could be. I just find it very irrelevant and not very intriguing. It had little to do with the game then, and has very little to do with the game now. The game is what the relevant thing is, and probably what we should be spending our time talking about. “

Asked about their relationship, Harbaugh said he respects Carroll and likes him, but added, “WE dont’ socialize. You wouldn’t call us friends or anything like that, but I’ve got to say that really, the only friend i have in the NFL is my brother.”

Carroll, when asked about his relationship with Harbaugh, said, “Well, we don’t know each other very well. We’ve never been in the same setting at all. . . We don’t have a common background at all.”

As for that postgame handshake, Carroll said: “There was no frustration. The media said that. A guy on the other sideline gets to do whatever he wants in any situation, and i have no problem with it whatsoever. It doesn’t matter to me.”

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