"It's a blast to be a Seahawk," new coach Pete Carroll said at his introductory news conference Tuesday at the team facility in Renton.
RENTON — Pete Carroll stepped to the podium carrying both a Seahawks helmet and the weight of expectations that come with being anointed the healer of a reeling franchise.
The revival began Tuesday morning at 10 with the introductory news conference for the coach who feigned as if he were going to put on the helmet before introducing himself as the new face of Seattle’s franchise.
“I am so fired up to be here,” he said.
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That began a soliloquy that lasted 11 minutes, 42 seconds. He talked without interruption, inhibition or even needing a single question. He talked about why he returned to the NFL after nine of the most successful seasons in college football history, what he’s learned since leaving the NFL and what he plans to do with the Seahawks.
This is the new voice of Seattle’s franchise, and get ready. He talks fast and with a mix of passion and humor.
This was Carroll’s show Tuesday, something that now could be said about the franchise in general.
“They’ve embraced my approach,” Carroll said, “the way I see things and the way I want to do stuff and the manner they want to wipe the past clear and give me the clearest opportunity to bring everything I have to offer.
“That’s really what I was looking for. It was the trust and the belief from the top of the organization. They don’t have an agenda of how they want their football played. They want me to do that.”
In Carroll’s first day on the job, he was funny and honest and his presence at the podium was neither scripted nor rehearsed, but rather something he delivered straight off the cuff.
The first question Carroll took referenced his last NFL job as New England coach when one of the criticisms was that Carroll’s practices and his team weren’t disciplined.
“That was just one of the many criticisms,” Carroll said.
An easy joke about a touchy subject for Carroll. He has a 33-31 overall record as an NFL coach with two playoff appearances in four seasons, but he was tabbed as someone ill-suited to serve as an NFL coach. He was seen to lack the requisite rough edge to make millionaire athletes follow orders.
Over the past nine seasons he has compiled one of the most successful runs in college history, going 97-19 at USC. He’s also done it with one of the nation’s richest talent supplies, and now the question is whether he can extract the same success from 25-year-old millionaires in a league where parity is actively legislated.
But Carroll made it clear that he doesn’t think it’s the age of the player that matters most, but the coach’s ability to inspire that player. He said he doesn’t think his ability to get the most out of a roster expires once those young men leave college.
“I think I’ve got an ability to go back to these guys and help them find their best,” Carroll said of NFL players. “As long as a football player knows that you’re helping him get what he wants and be what he thinks he can be, they’re going to listen.”
On Tuesday, Carroll had all of Seattle’s ear, and he showed that he’s not coming back with some vendetta to prove the NFL was wrong about him 10 years ago. He made it very clear he’s coming back because he feels he’s found the right opportunity to let his system, his style of play, his presence become the touchstone for a successful football team.
“I’m ready,” Carroll said. “I couldn’t be more prepared for it. I couldn’t be more excited about it, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org