Pete Carroll remembered the confetti falling to the ground at MetLife Stadium that evening in 2014, and what it meant to be standing on that stage with Paul Allen moments after winning Super Bowl XLVIII.
That is the best memory Carroll says he has of Allen, the beloved Seattle Seahawks owner, who died Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“We take it back to the Super Bowl,” Carroll said at his weekly press conference Tuesday, before pausing briefly to remember that night in New Jersey.
“He’s a winner. He wanted to be a champion. And, to be up on the stage, with the crowd and the confetti flying and all of that — to just be there with him, that’s my favorite moment with Paul Allen.”
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Carroll smiled, recalling another moment later on that night as the team celebrated, where Allen was on stage playing guitar.
“He thought he was Eddie Vedder or something,” Carroll said.
“But, I think that was a great moment that we got to share (on stage after the game), that he got to have it,” Carroll continued. “You can have all of the money in the world, but it’s really hard to get that championship. And it meant everything to him.”
Carroll said a tribute to honor Allen is being talked about, but information has not yet been released. The Seahawks are off this week and then play at Detroit on Oct. 28. The team’s next home game is Nov. 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Carroll did not discuss how the organization would proceed with ownership changes, but said the team would continue to operate as it has, and will honor Allen by competing.
“We’re going to battle for him,” Carroll said. “You’re either competing or your not. That’s kind of the way I think we can best give tribute.”
Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft who also owned the Portland Trailblazers, was embraced by the Seattle community after purchasing the Seahawks in 1996 to keep the team from moving to Southern California.
Carroll said Allen was hopeful after announcing earlier this month on social media that his cancer had returned, and told Carroll he was “ready for the battle.” Allen had become noticeably weaker, Carroll said, and unable to do some of his normal activities like travel with the team.
Carroll said Allen’s commitment to winning in Seattle drew him from USC in 2010, that Allen was always supportive of the organization’s direction during the nine years Carroll has been here.
“Around here, we’re all hanging together and staying really close, and making sure that we’re doing all the things we need to do to carry on and maintain the effort and spirit that Paul always stood for, which was extraordinary achievement,” Carroll said.
Carroll spoke briefly about the Seahawks’ decisive 27-3 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in London, noting that the victory was a good for team development.
“We had a great time,” Carroll said. “It was a great locker room. We had a blast.”
Carroll believes after a slow start this group is progressing.
“This is a good time for us,” he said. “And we have very high hopes we can keep getting better.”
Carroll also commented on Seattle’s meeting with former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch led the Raiders in rushing (13 carries, 45 yards) against the Seahawks at Wembley Stadium.
“I thought he played a terrific football game,” Carroll said. “He was playing so hard. He was playing as tough as I could ever remember him playing, and made some really good runs.
“He gave it everything he had. Our guys were hitting him as hard as they could hit him. I thought it was a really obvious demonstration of respect from both sides.”
Praise for Clark
Despite Frank Clark’s wrist injury during the offseason, his more recent battle with food poisoning, and another illness in London, Carroll said the fourth-year defensive end has been practicing at a high level, and was “explosive” in Sunday’s win.
“Even when times are tough, he brings it,” Carroll said.
Clark had four tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, and twice knocked the ball out of Oakland quarterback Derek Carr’s hands causing fumbles. And this, despite again feeling ill, though Carroll was unsure whether it was related to Clark’s previous bout of food poisoning.
“He’s an extraordinary competitor,” Carroll said. “He’s overcome a lot of things in his life, which have made him who he is. He just seems to respond and bounces back.
“He comes up with a really good frame of mind, even though things are difficult and finds positives to go forward, and generates effort. He’s an exciting player.”
Carroll said he was pleased with the way the Seahawks mixed in carries for rookie running back Rashaad Penny (nine carries, 43 yards) with veterans Chris Carson (14 carries, 59 yards) and Mike Davis (six carries, 21 yards) against the Raiders. ... Tight end Ed Dickson (quadriceps), defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle) and linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) are all on track to practice ahead of the trip to Detroit. ... Carroll said tight end Nick Vannett is still dealing with a “condition,” and is being monitored, but might return to practice. He did not give a timeline for running back J.D. McKissic’s (foot) return.