Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said Wednesday that his postgame comments Sunday were ''misdirected and immature" but he is not a villain or a thug. "We're talking about football here, and a lot of people took it further than football," Sherman said. "I was on a football field showing passion. Maybe it was misdirected and immature, but this is a football field. I wasn't committing any crimes and doing anything illegal. I was showing passion after a football game.

"It is what it is. Things like that happen and you deal with the adversity. I come from a place where it's all adversity, so what's a little more or people telling you what you can't do. I really was surprised. If I had known it was going to blow up like that I would have approached it differently, just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates. That's the thing I feel regretful about."

Sherman tipped away a pass in the end zone that was intended for San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree in the final seconds of Seattle's 23-17 victory Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted the tipped pass to seal the victory. Moments later, Sherman was interviewed on Fox Sports and was asked to describe the play. "I'm the best corner in the game,'' Sherman said, yelling. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're gonna get. Don't you ever talk about me." Sherman then was asked who was talking about him. "Crabtree,'' he said. "Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick."

Sherman's comments became a national rage and caused a firestorm of criticism on Twitter. Sherman was most concerned by the people who called him a thug.

"The reason it bothers me is it seems that's the accepted way now to call someone the N-word," Sherman said. "They say thug, and that takes me aback. Maybe I'm talking loudly on the field and saying things I'm not supposed to, but there was hockey game where they didn't even play hockey. They just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I thought, 'Oh man. I'm the thug? Geez.'"