Carroll says defensive end Frank Clark will be a Seahawk in 2019 and that he expects Earl Thomas to have a lot of good choices as he now enters free agency.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Seahawks have more than a few questions to answer about the makeup of their 2019 roster as they head into the heart of the offseason.
But what coach Pete Carroll said they don’t have a lot of are injury concerns.
Carroll spoke to reporters here Thursday at the NFL combine and said that only one player has any kind of an issue in terms of when he will be ready — tight end Will Dissly, a former UW standout who suffered a patella tendon injury in the fourth game of last season at Arizona. Carroll said Dissly is unlikely to be ready for training camp but that there is no clear timetable yet.
“There’s nothing that’s really in question other than the timeline for Will Dissly,’’ Carroll said. “We’ve just got to wait him out. He’s doing great and he’s working like crazy and all that, but he’s going to take a little longer than the other guys.”
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Everybody else, Carroll said, should be ready when needed.
“Yeah, we’re very fortunate that we go into the offseason in pretty good shape,’’ Carroll said. “The guys are working hard enough and we’re counting on everybody to be back in May.”
That includes receiver Doug Baldwin, whom Carroll said had surgeries on both his shoulder and knee following a rugged 2018 season in which he missed three games — the first since 2012 — while fighting through injuries in a few other games.
“He’s making progress, working at it hard,’’ Carroll said. “He’s working at the facility regularly. His spirits are good about it. He’s got some work to do, he’s got a shoulder and a knee thing that he’s working on. He got some stuff fixed up.”
Baldwin, though, came back late in the season to show he is still one of the elite receivers in the NFL — notably when he had 126 yards on seven receptions in a win over Kansas City.
Baldwin turns 31 in September, and his injuries and age had even Baldwin publicly wondering about his NFL future.
But Carroll said there should no questioning that Baldwin will remain a central part of the team’s plans in 2019.
“I hope so, yeah,’’ Carroll said. “I’m counting on it.”
Baldwin had 50 catches for 618 yards, each his fewest since 2013, while dealing with the injuries.
“He had a really frustrating year,’’ Carroll said. “We went through it side by side. It was so difficult to watch him have to go through it. He was such a gallant warrior about fighting through the stuff. Everything he had, he beat the timelines by halves. It was tough — he couldn’t practice the way we like him to and the way he wants to — it was frustrating for him, just the whole thing was. The fact that he finished up and made some big plays for us and did some good stuff at the end of the season was really rewarding, but not enough for his expectations and all that, so it was a hard year for him.”
A few other players who were also battling injuries at the end of the season, such as strong safety Delano Hill (hip) and offensive lineman Jordan Simmons (knee), are progressing well, Carroll said.
“They’re both doing fine,’’ Carroll said. “As a matter of fact, I saw Jordan a couple of days ago. He looks great, really positive, upbeat. Those guys are doing fine.’’
Here’s more of what Carroll said:
EARL THOMAS ‘WILL HAVE SOME GREAT CHOICES’
A day after general manager John Schneider confirmed that Earl Thomas will become an unrestricted free agent, Carroll said he expects the veteran free safety to have “some great choices’’ of offers.
“He has been an extraordinary player for us and part of everything that we’ve done,’’ Carroll said of Thomas. “The fact that he’s at the end of his contract, it’s his choice now what he gets to do, that’s what free agency is all about. I’m all for whatever Earl decides; he has been a fantastic part of everything, and I’m rooting for him. We’ve just got to wait and see what happens, but he’s going to have some great choices I’m sure.”
Asked if he had regrets about the way things appear to be ending with Thomas and his Seahawks career, Carroll referred only to the leg injury he suffered at Arizona last season that ended his season after four games.
“He was off to a great start in the season, and just an unfortunate injury again got in the way of it,’’ Carroll said. “That’s what I regret, that he couldn’t finish on a high note and build his case for the future and all of that. He was just on such a tear at the beginning of the season. It was really frustrating for him, I know.”
WILSON’S FUTURE ‘A BIG ISSUE THAT’S COMING’
Carroll laughed off a recent rumor stating that Ciara, quarterback Russell Wilson’s wife, would rather the couple be located in New York and that Wilson, as a result, wants to be traded to the New York Giants, who need a quarterback.
“That was a pretty good Hollywood release there,’’ Carroll said. “That was pretty big-time. I think it was a Hollywood, media release is what it was.”
The Seahawks have yet to have any real negotiations with Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, about a contract extension — Wilson’s deal runs out after the 2019 season.
But Carroll said he has been in contact with Wilson throughout the offseason.
“We always do (talk),’’ Carroll said. “We ended the season with a real good meeting. That’s ongoing. We have a terrific relationship, we’re working this thing out together throughout. That’s another obviously big issue that’s coming. Everything is lined up to be worked on here as we go forward.”
FRANK CLARK ‘WILL BE WITH’ SEAHAWKS IN 2019
The Seahawks are expected to place a franchise tag on defensive end Frank Clark for the 2019 season if they cannot reach agreement on a long-term deal before the tag deadline of March 5.
Carroll essentially confirmed that saying there is no question that Clark will be a Seahawk in 2019.
“Frankie will be with us, yeah,’’ Carroll said.
But he said ideally the team will get a long-term deal done.
“Frankie just turned 25, he’s still a very young football player,” Carroll said. “Made a huge step this year in terms of leadership, growth and maturity. It was so obvious. I was really proud of seeing that develop for Frank. He played great too. Frank, he’s a very valuable football player and that’s the process we’re in the middle of and all that. I can’t tell you guys how that’s going to turn out, but it’s going to be positive for the Seahawks and for Frank.”
CARROLL ENTHUSED ABOUT OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE
The Seahawks reiterated here that the team is not for sale — something also made clear in January when Carroll signed an extension through the 2021 season.
Since then, the team has clarified that the new ownership of the team is the Paul G. Allen Trust with Allen’s sister, Jody, in control of the trust and the team. Paul Allen died in October.
Carroll, who said in January one reason he signed an extension was his comfort with where the team is headed under Jody Allen, spoke expansively on that topic again here Thursday.
“I’m glad you asked me (about Jody Allen),’’ Carroll said. “We’ve had great meetings with Jody. I’ve been so impressed, and her ability to put things in motion in similar fashion. The structure is very similar. We’ve had really clear sense for that. She will surprise the heck out of you. She is on it. She is aggressive in her approach. She is so mindful of the 12s and the area, it’s so dear to her heart, that we do we good job to represent and give them everything that they deserve — in time, as you guys get to know her, you are going to see that we are very fortunate that she’s taken on the leadership.”
Carroll said the team is being operated under Jody Allen in the same manner as it was under Paul Allen.
“Well, the formula is the same, basically,’’ Carroll said. “So we are clear on the decision-making and the process and what we expect, what we can expect to work under. I just don’t see it as being anything but positive at this point. And she cares tremendously about carrying on Paul’s legacy, and she is going to do that.”
CARROLL WANTS SWEEZY, FLUKER, WRIGHT BACK
Three other of the team’s impending free agents are veteran guards D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy and linebacker K.J. Wright.
As might be expected with the free agent signing period beginning March 13, Carroll said the team would like to keep all three but that it’s unclear if that can happen.
“I’m counting on him, yeah, I’m counting on him,’’ Carroll said of Fluker. “He did a great job last year he had a big impact as did Sweez. We want both those guys back.’’
As for Wright, who has been with the team since 2011 but played just five games last season due to a knee injury, Carroll said: “It was a frustrating, frustrating year for him, and like Doug he didn’t get to play like he normally does. But when he did he played really, really well. He’s an incredible part of our program. He’s such a tremendous asset, leader, performer, personality — everything about him. It’s great to have him around. Hoping we can keep him. We will try to.”
CONDITIONING STAFF A CHANCE FOR A ‘KICK-START’
Carroll said the makeover of the team’s strength and conditioning staff — Ivan Lewis is taking over for Chris Carlisle, who had been with the Seahawks since Carroll arrived in 2010 — was a chance to assure the Seahawks are staying at the cutting edge of the field.
“Well, it was opportunity for us to kick-start a new look at all of the areas that have to do with performance,’’ Carroll said. “We think philosophically it was going to be important to open up to the newness. I think we’ve fit it together in a way we can see things a little bit differently than we have in the past and just try to take us further into the understanding of what it takes to help our guys play at their best. … We’re off to a really good start.’’
Lewis was with Carroll at USC from 2006-08 before coming to UW under Steve Sarkisian. He went back to USC with Sarkisian in 2014 and had been there until being hired by the Seahawks this month.
“He brings a fresh outlook,’’ Carroll said of Lewis. “He brings a really expansive appreciation for the whole area of performance. He worked with some really good guys down at SC that we really endorse in particular. He was brought up with the mentality of including all aspects of the program: training, rehab, nutrition, all those things. I think we can do a better job. As always we’re just competing, trying to figure it out.”