Pete Carroll has a strong chin, and a will to match. He knows the Seahawks will be the most compelling team in the NFL next season. For a team so high to go so low so suddenly, and be so open about the trauma, well, the climb back up is reality-TV without the scripted outcome.
“We’re a very unique team right now for people to watch,” Carroll told reporters Friday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “You saw us win it all. And now you saw us go all to the last moment and not get what (we) want . . . What were we going to do then? What are we going to do now?
“How we respond, we’ll find out.”
Perhaps unlike any of his NFL contemporaries in the same situation, Carroll has invited and answered every question about the immortal play that finished off the Seahawks’ chances at a second consecutive Super Bowl triumph.
Some will never agree with his answers or his thinking that led to the interception that preserved New England’s 28-24 win. But Carroll remains staunch in transparency. Disagreement over tactics won’t produce an urge to run away.
“We shared that experience with the world,” he said. “I feel there is a responsibility to really extend the message of accountability, and that’s getting to the truth of what happened . . . And then, being prepared to move on constructively, productively, immediately.
“We’re not into this world of blaming and fixing blame, trying to figure out what went wrong.”
His long-ago-booked appearance at the combine, where more than 300 college candidates for the April 30 draft run around in their underwear for three days on the NFL Network trying to win a job in pro football, followed by a day QB Russell Wilson’s self-designed video on Players’ Tribune in which he talked for four minutes and 20 seconds about the play and the emotional aftermath.
Apparently the public purge of feelings is part of the post-flop program.
“As we have been since the moment we stepped in here, we have been competing, battling, clawing and scratching to find a competitive edge in everything we’re doing,” Carroll said. “And here it is draft time now. We’re forging on . . . We’re in a situation that is notable because the way our game finished coming off the Super Bowl.”
Responding to a question about Pats coach Bill Belichick’s strong rebuke of critics who assailed Carroll’s choices, Carroll said, “It is important, and I really care about that. Bill’s an extraordinary coach. Anything he says, people should listen to. In this case, he’s just respecting coaching. He understands the game. he knows what was going on exactly . . . he knows. He gets it.
“I’ve always respected the work Bill has done, the accomplishments, the achievements. For him to take the moment to do that, it’s very gracious of him. We coaches all care about the game. I think he made a statement, just to try and let people know, if they’re curious, what he feels about it. And I appreciate that.”
In his presser, Carroll moved on from the past to the future and whether RB Marshawn Lynch is in it with Seattle. He said “big offers” have been made to the Seahawks “heartbeat player” (GM John Schneider’s term) but offered little news.
“I haven’t talked to Marshawn,” he said. “But we have been, in earnest, negotiating with Marshawn to get him back with us in every way that we can. It’s been an ongoing process — we’ve had big offers out there. We continue to work with that, and we’re excited about the future.
“He’s been an integral part of our program for five years, and we’ve loved the contribution that he’s brought. He’s been a great character in the program. We’re excited to move ahead; we’d really like to move at that swiftly. It’s such a big deal, as it has always been, to get our lead players intact. So, we’ll work at that.”
Carroll said that neither SS Kam Chancellor (MCL knee tear) nor CB Richard Sherman (dislocated elbow) will have to undergo surgery, but CB Tharold Simon might. He said it was a shoulder problem but was not specific. When GM John Schneider met the media Thursday, he said CB Jeremy Lane, who was already going to have surgery on his broken left wrist, also tore his right ACL on the same interception return in the Super Bowl and will need surgery on the knee as well . . TE Zach Miller is progressing well from ankle surgery and should be available for the start of the season . . . Carroll said the appointments of Kris Richard to defensive coordinator and of Rocky Seto to assistant head coach of the defense were a “natural progression” for both and they will work in tandem . . . Carroll was interviewing at the combine for two other coaching positions.