RENTON Michael Bennett was “wrong.”
“There are no suspensions coming” from the NFL for the Seahawks’ disgraceful end to their loss at Jacksonville.
Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright will be game-time decisions on whether they can get back from injuries in time to play in what is essentially the NFC West championship game Sunday at home against the division-leading Los Angeles Rams.
And Malik McDowell is “remorseful” following an arrest in Atlanta this past weekend that the Seahawks hopes “isn’t an indicator of things to come.”
That’s what coach Pete Carroll said Monday. It was a newsier-than-usual press conference, one day after a wholly unusual loss to the Jaguars that didn’t damage Seattle’s chances to win the West again--but did damage its reputation nationally.
“I really, REALLY don’t like the way the game ended for us,” Carroll said. “We never want to see a football game look like that. The level that we play at, that’s not an excuse for going over the top like that.
“We don’t want to play like that. We don’t want to look like that. Ever.”
I asked Carroll about Bennett’s actions that started the ugliest end to a Seahawks game in a long time: fighting that led to teammates Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson getting ejected, a fan throwing beer on Jefferson and Jefferson charging to the railing of the stands as if to fight fans before being restrained.
Officials penalized Carroll for unsportsmanlike conduct for coming into the center of the field during the fighting.
It all began after Bennett dived into the back of the legs of Jacksonville center Brandon Linder well after a Jaguars’ kneel-down play in the final seconds.
“Let me just say--one thing I will say about it is: What Mike was doing was, he was trying to swipe the ball while it is getting snapped,” Carroll said. “It is something he has done before. That’s why he was down there, way down on the ground like that. He was trying to time it up and hit it, trying to force a fumble, see if we can get the ball back. And so he winds up beneath the whole pile of stuff.
“The stuff that happened after that is wrong, you know. But he was trying to get the ball. But after that it was...it got messy.”
Carroll said he had spoken to Bennett that his diving well after the play into Linder’s legs is unacceptable.
“Yeah, he’s been told that,” Carroll said. “Yes.”
The coach said the Pro Bowl defensive end understands and is--in what was Carroll’s word of the day--“remorseful.”
Bennett said after the game when asked about going after Linder: “I don’t have to explain myself.”
The league continues to investigate all that went down--and I mean DOWN--including the Jaguars’ stadium security’s actions as Jefferson was coming off the field following his disqualification.
The Jaguars issued a statement about that.
No matter what the NFL eventually finds, or whom it fines, it’s indisputable the Seahawks are fortunate Bennett, Richardson or Jefferson will not be suspended from a depleted, changed defense that was missing five Pro Bowl players to injury by the second half of the loss at Jacksonville.
Now can Seattle get back Wagner, who left that game early in the third quarter with a re-injured hamstring, and Wright, who got a concussion later in the second half ramming head on head into a Jaguars lead blocker, for Sunday’s game against the Rams?
Carroll said the team won’t know that until “all the way up to game day.
“K.J. had a good day today, though. That’s a positive.”
Carroll said new lead rusher Mike Davis, who “got hit in the ribs” and left Sunday’s game, felt better Monday.
“We’ll how to see how the week goes, how he handles (it) and shows what he’s got. So we will see what happens,” the coach said.
Carroll said he had spoken to McDowell since the Seahawks’ top rookie draft choice was arrested early Sunday in Atlanta for disorderly conduct at a nightclub.
McDowell has yet to play for the Seahawks because of undisclosed injuries he got to his head from an ATV accident in Michigan in July. The 21-year-old defensive lineman issued a statement on his social-media accounts Monday.
McDowell wrote: “I am embarrassed by the situation and my actions on Saturday. I would like to apologize to the Atlanta Police Department, SL Lounge, the entire Seattle Seahawks organization and my teammates. I am a young man who made a mistake and am constantly working towards getting better.”
“Yeah, I did see him. He met with John (Schneider, the Seahawks’ general manager) also,” Carroll said. “He’s very remorseful. He got in a situation and, you know, made a mistake and hopefully this will be a learning experience for him. I don’t know much more than that about it; we just talked about it a little bit. I know he felt really bad and represented it in that manner.”
I asked Carroll if the team will now reel McDowell in to it and keep him closer to it on a daily basis even though he continues to do no football activities, and won’t for the foreseeable future.
“Well, I think we are definitely going to help him, in every way that we can. We have already talked about that,” Carroll said. “Let’s hope this isn’t an indicator of things to come, that he has turned with this experience. Sounds very much intended to do that. We’ll see what happens.”