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Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas expected to play through pain in Super Bowl

Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates

Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with Earl Thomas #29 after intercepting a ball intended for Philly Brown #16 of the Carolina Panthers thrown by Cam Newton #1 in the first quarter during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on Jan. 10, 2015 in Seattle. Credit: Getty Images / Otto Greule Jr

Pete Carroll was asked to imagine what his defense would look like in the Super Bowl if he had to play without All-Pros Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, both of whom suffered injuries in Sunday's NFC Championship Game win over the Packers.

"I'm not going there," he said, clearly spooked a bit by the prospect.

It does not seem he will have to. While both players underwent MRIs Monday, the results of which were not available when Carroll addressed the media, there seems little chance that either of those key members of the Seahawks secondary will willingly take a seat against the Patriots on Feb. 1.

They certainly didn't against the Packers.

"Both those guys were in dire straits of could they play, and they didn't flinch," Carroll said. "Not for a second. When they played, they played their hearts out. The courage and the toughness and standing up for who they are and what they mean to this team couldn't have been more evident in their willingness to throw their body out there again and try to finish this game. They would not allow it to be any other way."

Thomas injured his shoulder in the first half. Sherman hurt his left elbow and kept playing even though he could not raise his arm.

"It was so impressive," Carroll said. "There are a lot of guys who do that, it's just really symbolic. Here's Earl with the big brace on his shoulder and he's back out there playing. Here's Richard, couldn't straighten his arm out."

The health of these two Legion of Boomers will undoubtedly be a strong story line for the next two weeks. Last year, Sherman's mouth was the story after he burst on the scene with a postgame tirade alongside Fox's Erin Andrews following the NFC title game win over the 49ers. This year, it seems to be just his elbow. That says a lot about how Sherman has changed as a player and as a personality.

"I think he's evolving into this station of his life," Carroll said. "He sees things probably different, different than he did before, just because he's grown. He's experienced a lot and he's been through a lot. He has a lot of responsibility and he's gained a lot of responsibility through his notoriety. I think he's handling it beautifully."

And he's still probably the Seahawks' best cover cornerback, even with the lame wing.

"We'll see what happens," Carroll said of the possibly adjusted roles of Sherman and Thomas. "I don't know. We'll talk about that more when we know what's going on."

Notes & quotes: Carroll said he will follow a schedule similar to last year's during the bye week before the Super Bowl, installing the game plan before they leave for Arizona on Sunday. "Exactly the same," he said. "We kind of like the way it worked out." . . . Asked about his time as coach of the Patriots, Carroll was not expansive. Uncharacteristically, so that even he noticed it. "We did some good stuff when we were there but it didn't work out and we had to move on," he said, before adding: "All of a sudden I sound like Bill [Belichick]."

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