Seahawks notebook: Carroll addresses team's past substance, drug suspensions

Staff writerJanuary 29, 2014 

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll answers questions during a press availability at the team's hotel in Jersey City, N.J., Jan. 29, 2014. The Seahawks will take on the Denver Broncos Feb. 2.

JOE BARRENTINE — Staff photographer Buy Photo

For the first time since the Seahawks landed in New Jersey, questions about prior suspensions for substance-abuse and performance-enhancing drugs came up.

Linebacker Bruce Irvin started this season on a four-game suspension for PED use. Cornerback Brandon Browner was later suspended a year for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. Shortly after, cornerback Walter Thurmond was suspended four games for his violation of the league’s substance-abuse program.

Head coach Pete Carroll said that he thought Irvin’s suspension was a turning point for the team’s understanding of the importance to fly right.

“It set us in a new mode, in a new mentality,” Carroll said. “I found that we were a very young team, with young minds, and guys that needed to formulate the plan, how it all fits together, and the best way we could do that is to gather the power that they represent us – everybody represents the Seahawks. In that process of talking through that, and working through that with the coaches and the players, we really came together with a really simple thought, that we’re ‘Seahawks 24-7.’ ”

That phrase, “Seahawks 24-7,” is often on the body of free safety Earl Thomas. He and other players wear T-shirts that read, “Seahawks 24-7, leave no doubt.”

Yet, questions about who the Seahawks are remain. Carroll was not only asked about the violations of league policy, but also if he is concerned those violations coupled with Richard Sherman’s postgame rant have earned the Seahawks a bad reputation.

“No, I’m really not concerned with that,” Carroll said. “I think anybody has an opportunity to say what they want to say about what’s happened in the past. I think we’re a young team that’s learning how to work with the guidelines and all of that.

“I think if you look back on the individuals that were involved in the PEDs and all of that kind of stuff, there’s a spread of guys from years ago and the numbers kind of add up. But I’m not concerned about where it’s going; I’m not concerned about the message. We would like to do right and get better, so we’re trying to improve and learn from everything that comes along.”

Carroll said the Seahawks have had team meetings, speakers, seminars and one-on-ones specific to the topic of suspensions.

“Not until this offseason did I think that our young team really joined together,” Carroll said.

WILL BENNETT BE BACK?

Seahawks defensive end/tackle Michael Bennett has fit into the team’s plans almost perfectly. His funky style at the line makes him a matchup problem that the Seahawks can put inside or on the edge. He led the team with 8.5 sacks.

His soon-to-be expired one-year deal with Seattle has made his future a question heading into the Super Bowl.

Bennett’s brother, tight end Martellus of the Chicago Bears, is openly recruiting Michael to join him in Chicago. Numerous teams will be after Bennett when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

“Just want to go out there see what happens, find the best situation for my family,” Bennett said.

Bennett was a free agent last year and chose a one-year deal with Seattle. He said he’s not sure what he wants the parameters of his next contract to be, in addition to saying this year’s situation worked out great.

“It all depends,” Bennett said. “With these teams, you never know how the (salary cap) numbers work out and I just want to go to the team that I feel like is the best decision for me.”

As far his chance to come back to Seattle, which signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent before cutting him in 2009?

“It’s up to them,” Bennett said. “I’ve been in the situation before that I thought I was going to be playing there for the rest of my life and it didn’t work out the same way. I’m not going to get all ahead of myself and put so much into it. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I understand the business more this year than I did last year.”

LYNCH SPEAKS (SORT OF, AGAIN)

Reticent running back Marshawn Lynch faced another media herd Wednesday when all 53 Seahawks were available to talk. Like his stint at Media Day, he had little to say and cut it short.

At one point, Lynch’s good friend, fullback Michael Robinson, began answering questions for Lynch. While answering, Robinson impersonated Lynch by keeping his answers brief and punctuating each one with, “boss,” a preferred term for Lynch.

For instance, when asked what Beast Mode is, Robinson said, “It’s a lifestyle, boss.”

Even Lynch, who pointed out he was only in attendance in order to not be fined, couldn’t stop from laughing.

EXTRA POINTS: The Seahawks players have just 45 more minutes of media obligations this week.Wednesday, they were trying to push back to normalcy with practice. After Thursday morning, players have no more media duties. … The forecast for the weekend is showing a high temperature around 40 degrees.

Todd Dybas
todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com
@todd_dybas

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