Patriots corner Brandon Browner—who spent the previous three seasons with the Seahawks—was not shy about his belief that New England needs to target his banged-up former teammates. Speaking to ESPN, Browner specifically referenced Richard Sherman's sprained elbow and Earl Thomas's separated shoulder, both suffered in Seattle's comeback win over Green Bay.
"Those dudes are tough. Watching the game, you can see Sherman was holding that arm like he had a sling on it. But at the end of the day, this is about the Super Bowl. I'm going to tell my teammates: 'Go hit that elbow, go hit that shoulder. Hit it, try to break it if you can.'"
Nothing personal, Browner added.
"You're going to be my best friend after the game, but at the end of he day, I know you want the Super Bowl just as bad as I do."
All of that seems eminently fair, even if it's slightly discomfiting to hear it laid out so matter-of-factly. But the Seahawks secondary is its strength, and if you can focus on their known weaknesses (there's a reason hockey players merely have "upper-body" or "lower-body" injuries), give them an extra shot here and there to put them in pain, or at least make them second-guess how much they want future contact, you do that—within the rules if possible, but without wouldn't be the end of the world either.
When told of Browner's remarks, most of the Seahawks were phlegmatic. This is the NFL, after all.
"I'd expect that," Doug Baldwin said. "Everybody wants us to be politically correct, but that's the truth. Whether you say it out loud or not, that's legitimately what it is. I'm not surprised by that at all."
One exception was Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright, who said targeting specific injuries is "unacceptable and shouldn't be in football." But on the whole, there's still love for Browner. Richard Sherman said he's still a member of the Legion of Boom, and called him a great friend, while Kam Chancellor said he's "like a brother."
So, just like siblings, there's no real bad blood here—but they're still going to try to hurt each other. "We're going to go after him, too," Seattle LB Bobby Wagner said of Browner. "It's going to be a fun game. So tell him Bobby said he's coming after him."