SANTA CLARA Why so much anger, Arizona Cardinals?
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on Wednesday attributed recent, charged language from defensive lineman Calais Campbell to some hotly contested games between the Cardinals and 49ers on national television in recent years. In fact, the teams' first meeting in 2007, a "Monday Night Football" matchup the 49ers won with a last-minute touchdown, was Whisenhunt's first game as Cardinals coach.
"We've had a number of those. It's grown," Whisenhunt said of the rivalry. " It seems to me that with our players there's always a little bit extra when we play San Francisco."
Campbell likely agrees.
A day earlier, the 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive end said on SiriusXM NFL radio he hates the 49ers "with a passion." And, he said, fellow defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, who once was engaged in a Twitter feud with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, might despise the 49ers more than he does.
"I mean, literally, when they are playing anybody else he's talking trash about every last one of them every game they're playing," Campbell said. "He hates them with a passion, so I know he's coming with everything he has this week."
Campbell said he thought multiple-sack outings were possible for him and Dockett on Monday. The Cardinals' 22 sacks rank sixth in the NFL. The 49ers have allowed 20 sacks, fourth worst in the league but not nearly as bad as the Cardinals, who have given up a league-leading 35.
Whisenhunt seemed to have no issues with Campbell's comments, but he insisted that the Arizona animosity is born from respect.
"I think that goes throughout our whole team," he said. "I think that's part of the reason why we're excited to have an opportunity to play them because we respect them and know they're a good football team."
The division-leading 49ers (5-2) and Cardinals (4-3) have met four times on "MNF" since 2007, with the 49ers winning three times.
The 49ers' loss came in 2008 when fullback Michael Robinson was stopped short of the goal line at the end of the game, and the 49ers fell 29-24.
Overall, the 49ers have won seven of 10 meetings since Whisenhunt took over in Arizona.
Sherman speaks Campbell isn't the only division rival with sharp words for the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on Wednesday reacted to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's suggestion last week that he and teammate Brandon Browner were too physical against 49ers receivers during their game Thursday.
"Sometimes, man, when the bully gets bullied, that's how that happens," Sherman said, according the Seattle Times.
Sherman played for Harbaugh at Stanford and was suspended for a game as a freshman in 2007 for yelling at teammates during a loss. Sherman also made headlines for taunting New England quarterback Tom Brady following a win over the Patriots on Oct. 14.
Lee recognized The NFL named punter Andy Lee its Special Teams Player of the Week after four of Lee's punts pinned the Seahawks inside their 20-yard line during Thursday's win.
Lee, who made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro squad last year, will square off against Cardinals returner Patrick Peterson on Monday. Peterson returned four punts for touchdowns as a rookie last season.