Hasselbeck's apology was in response to a question about Arizona safety Adrian Wilson blitzing free and sacking Hasselbeck in the second quarter of Arizona's 26-20 victory Sunday that essentially ended Seattle's four-year reign in the NFC West.
Wilson jumped and his forearms appeared to hit Hasselbeck's head after the quarterback ducked to absorb the blow. Hasselbeck was splayed on the ground for a few seconds and got up with a shoulder pad sticking out of his jersey.
Referee Bill Carollo was watching intently but did not call a penalty.
Hasselbeck missed on three of his next five passes and fumbled during another sack in the plays following Wilson's hit, but said it didn't affect him much differently than other hard ones he's taken. Hasselbeck finished the game but threw three interceptions as the Cardinals (7-3) all but wrapped up their first division title since 1975.
About an hour after a loss that left Seattle 2-8, Hasselbeck looking punch-drunk and defeated. He said he was exhausted. He spent time in the training room taking fluids intravenously and then spoke in slow, almost groggy tones to the media.
He said then: "You know, it's football. It's a violent game. I guess the only thing that makes me feel good is knowing there will be some fines coming out in a couple days."
Moments later, he added: "I probably shouldn't have said that. I regret saying that. The film's there. I mean, everyone can see it. I know it wasn't a prime-time game. But I hope someone watches it."
On Monday, Hasselbeck said he probably shouldn't have been allowed to meet with reporters for another couple of hours after the game. He said he felt just "OK" to play even before kickoff. The three-time Pro Bowl passer had missed the previous five games with a bulging disk in his back that caused a nerve issue in his leg.
"I probably owe them an apology," Hasselbeck said Monday about the Cardinals. "I think they played hard. I think they played physical. I think they played within the rules, and with class. So I regret saying that. In fact, I hope nobody gets fined."
Wilson was fined $25,000 earlier this season for a hit that knocked Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards out of a game.
"I don't know what a bad hit is," Wilson said before Sunday's game. "You know, it's football, and to me, every hit could be scrutinized, regardless of whether it's a legal hit or an illegal hit."
"I've looked at it from the coaches' tape. I've looked at it from our broadcast department, which has an excellent view of it. And with all due respect to Matt -- he's a good quarterback, I have a lot of respect for him -- but I don't see it," Whisenhunt said before Hasselbeck spoke Monday.
"I know he hasn't been playing in a while and he hasn't been hit in a while so maybe that was a little magnified to him in (Sunday's) game. Maybe the speed of the game, he just wasn't used to it. I know he played four tough quarters in a physical football game."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said the play was "close" to being a penalty and then pointed out that rules prohibit hits to a quarterback's head.
Not surprisingly, Whisenhunt had a different view.
"This is a physical game. And our quarterback has taken some shots this year that were much worse than the shot that I felt Adrian put on that quarterback," the Arizona coach said. "And the one thing that nobody seems to also recognize is that the quarterback turned away from Adrian and dropped down. That may have made it look a little worse than it was.
"To me it was a clean play."
An NFL spokesman said recently that historically, there are about 20 fines per week for illegal hits out of about 2,300 plays (153 per game).
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press