Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Saturday that Bruce Irvin's comments that "I'm going to be in Atlanta next season'' were misinterpreted.

Share story

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Saturday that Bruce Irvin’s comments about wanting to play for the Atlanta Falcons were misinterpreted and that he was referring to wanting to be in Atlanta for off-season workouts.

Carroll made the comments to the Associated Press in Los Angeles where he has been over over the weekend to receive an honorary degree from USC and get inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

“I’m really glad you asked me that, because he didn’t say that,” Carroll said. “We’ve been talking all along. He has been working out in Atlanta for these three weeks, and he said (that) in response to the question ‘Do you want to come back home?’ He said everybody likes to come back home, and it’s a dream to come back home. It wasn’t in reference to leaving us and coming back (to the Falcons). He was really adamant about it, and I asked him to leave it and not go at it anymore.”

That’s obviously not how Irvin’s comments were initially taken.

To review, Irvin grew up in Atlanta and was attending a Hawks’ game earlier this week. Approached there by, he said “I’m going to be in Atlanta next season. I’m ready.”
And when asked if he would return to Seattle, he said: “Atlanta is where I want to be. Believe that.”

It’s a question that has arisen since the Seahawks did not pick up an option for the 2016 season for Irvin that would have paid him almost $7.8 million. He can instead become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season unless he comes to an agreement on a different deal with the Seahawks. Carroll and general manager John Schneider have each said they would like to work out a longer-term deal with Irvin.

Irvin has seemed miffed at the Seahawks for not picking up the option, Tweeting after it became known that the team would not pick it up: “Faced way tougher adversity getting outta them streets coming up! That’s s— is nothing! F— THAT OPTION!”

Carroll also downplayed Irvin’s Twitter passages, saying: “Anybody can put those messages out, and they have a life to them. Our guys are getting better at understanding that, and Bruce has learned again from this lesson.”

The most interesting aspect of this may be Carroll strongly coming to the defense of Irvin. If you wondered if Carroll or the organization were mad at Irvin for what he has said and/or Tweeted, the answer — at least publicly — is no.

Michael Bennett has also made some comments about not being happy with his contract situation, and also did not take part in the initial portion of the team’s voluntary off-season workout program.

But Carroll’s public comments on Bennett have been in a similar mode, saying only that he has no concerns about Bennett and where he stands with the Seahawks.

UPDATE — The author of the original piece fired back at Carroll today, saying he stands by his original interpretation of Irvin’s comments and calling Carroll’s statements this weekend “damage control.”