NFC title game mystery: Who hit the gunner?

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers questions Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers questions after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 during the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. (Jan. 19, 2014) Photo Credit: Getty

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RENTON, Wash. - Sunday's NFC Championship Game was physical, and not just for the players on the field.

The NFL will look into a play in which Seahawks gunner Jeremy Lane was thumped by a non-uniformed (and non-padded, by the way) person on the 49ers' sideline while running to cover a first-quarter punt.

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"I think that'll be a very interesting report back from the league,'' Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "I was really disappointed that it didn't get called because there is an official that is on that and he was obstructed out of bounds. By intent? I don't know. I can't tell that. Who knows? But it did happen.''

After he was ridden out of bounds into the 49ers' bench area by Tramaine Brock -- a completely legal play -- Lane took a forearm from the as-yet-unidentified person. "He definitely got hit,'' Carroll said. The blow caused Lane to fall to the turf, although he got back to his feet quickly for the rest of the play.

Carroll said he made a "big deal'' about it to the officials so it wouldn't happen again.

"That's part of the bench, that's part of their team, and they're not allowed to do that,'' Carroll said. "They have to make way . . . It's just surprising because there is a guy who is tracking the gunner. We'll find out the ruling.''

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