The question was whether, when Pete Carroll talked with his players during the plane ride to St. Louis Friday, they were being honest with the coach about their views on the trade to the New York Jets of Percy Harvin, whom several players are on record saying they liked as a teammate.
“Why would you put it like that?” Carroll said with a puzzled look Monday afternoon. “I think they answered very honestly. Some guys were sleeping, so I didn’t get to every guy. I took a good accounting of the fellas; it happened so suddenly for them.
“I know exactly how they feel about it. We had really good talk about it, across the board, on our team. I think it was accepted as pretty clear that this was the next thing we had to do. It was a team decision.”
Could be. But then, other observers of human nature might suggest honesty is the last thing some bosses care to hear when they search in-house for support on a controversial move.
The trade of Harvin that blew away the NFL over the weekend was news to Seahawks players as they boarded the bus at the VMAC. It was a big enough deal that Carroll felt compelled to work the flight talking it through, where presumably he heard from Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin and perhaps others who either on social media or in interviews said they liked him or at least didn’t see problems.
Carroll was more circumspect with reporters.
Asked for how long he knew that Harvin might be trouble, Carroll said, “I’ve known Percy since he was in high school. We recruited him in high school and didn’t get very close to getting him, but I’ve followed him for a long time. I’ve coached all kinds of different guys, and this is no surprise, you’ve always felt like this was going to work out. You were going to be able to figure out a way to make it work.
“With everybody that we decide to bring into this program, we do it for a specific reason, with great consideration, and we have a plan. We have a great vision for how it’s going to go and (with Harvin) it didn’t quite get there.”
Earlier in the day on his weekly radio show on ESPN 710, Carroll said, “I could get it done when we made this decision (to acquire Harvin in March 2013). I compete at this thing and I couldn’t make it work for our team and our players.”
Asked specifically to confirm that Harvin refused when told to re-enter the game against Dallas, Carroll offered a small smile: “He’s a Jet.”
Carroll was slightly more direct when asked about the chance that former FB Michael Robinson might be re-hired to fill in for his successor, Derrick Coleman, who broke his foot Sunday in warmups and will miss at least six weeks.
“He’s doing a really good job in the media right now and quite busy,” he said of Robinson’s new career. “We’re really encouraged by his efforts. He seems to be very well grooved in his business.”
That would be a no in Pete-speak. Asked the similar question Sunday, Carroll responded that all options were open. What may have changed is when Carroll read Robinson’s disclosure about a fight between Harvin and former Seahawks teammate Golden Tate that Robinson broke up the day before the Super Bowl.
“Something did go on at the Super Bowl that a lot of fans don’t know about,” Robinson said on his regular appearance on NFL Network’s morning TV show Sunday. “There was an altercation in the locker room between Percy and Golden.
“It saddens me because I was a leader on that team and to know that this information got out — usually Pete Carroll-coached teams, this type of thing stays in-house. There was an issue, I physically broke it up, I was there, you would have to ask those guys what they were arguing about, I’m not at liberty to talk about it.”
Well, Robinson talked about it, on national cable. As did most everyone else connected with the NFL.
It seems fairly certain Harvin was combative and insubordinate. Whether those traits, not unknown in NFL locker rooms, were sufficient to merit a rare midseason firing will have to leak out from New York and elsewhere, because it’s clear Carroll doesn’t care to explain much about the most controversial move of his Seattle tenure.
Asked whether the offense works better without having to accommodate Harvin, Carroll again demurred.
“I don’t know. We’ll see — it’s one game,” he said. “Really, we played two and a half quarters well. We have a long ways to go.”
Whether he has a divided locker room won’t be disclosed by Carroll, and in any event there is another long flight to the East and a game in Carolina Sunday. How fast things heal may depend on how fast the 3-3 Seahawks get back to winning.