Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and QB Russell Wilson said Friday all is well in the team's locker room.
Richard Sherman walked off the field following the Seahawks’ OTA (Organized Team Activity) Friday talking cordially with general manager John Schneider, then giving him a little hug as he headed into the locker room.
Then seeing a group of waiting reporters he paused for a second, smiled and said “how you guys doing?’’
Sherman didn’t stop to talk to the media longer — word is he may do that next week.
But the statement seemed clear enough — if you’re looking for evidence of the type of internal division detailed in an extensive ESPN article published last week, for now you’ve come to the wrong place.
On this day, team turmoil was instead enveloped only in sunshine and good feeling, with coach Pete Carroll and then quarterback Russell Wilson each spending significant portions of their media sessions shooting down the idea that anything is amiss in the team’s locker room, or that the team’s public acknowledgement that it would consider trading Sherman in the offseason will linger.
“We are in great shape right now,’’ Carroll said. “Everything is going in great fashion.’’
Carroll, in fact, at times seemed defiant as he said that while the Super Bowl loss to New England — detailed in the ESPN story as still haunting Sherman and leading to his discontent and an increasing offense versus defense rift — will never go away, it is not something that the team hasn’t overcome.
“I guess things are a lot differently than maybe you guys think,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t know that, but in here and with us and the work we are doing I think we are in marvelous position. That doesn’t mean everybody is on the same page exactly right all the time — I’m not either. We’ve got to work at it, it’s a challenge and it’s about developing relationships and working with people and helping them find their best and that’s what we’re working at right here. Now we ain’t doing it right all the time but we are trying.’’
Carroll said he didn’t feel the need to talk to the team about the article —- which also posited that some players feel the coaching staff treats Wilson differently — calling it “an old story that was revisited … it’s old stuff.’’
Carroll instead said any perceived tensions have arisen simply out of working in a high-pressure environment in which there have been some unique circumstances.
“I’ve tried to explain — I don’t know if you guys get it — but we are kind of living in a family in this situation,’’ Carroll said. “These guys have grown up with us as football players and in that we go through a lot of changes and there are a lot of things that happen, a lot of challenges in all directions, not just for one but for all of these guys. And in that I am dedicated to making progress as we go.
“That doesn’t mean everything is always going to go exactly as you plan. Sometimes there are setbacks and challenges. Matter of fact if you don’t count on that then you don’t understand. We are in great shape. This locker room is in great shape. Whatever you guys think may be otherwise, it isn’t.’’
Carroll said Sherman has been “right on it’’ during the offseason program “helping the young guys like we count on him do to. Done a really good job.’’
And asked about the perception that Wilson has been treated differently, Carroll said that every player inevitably is treated in a manner that suits their personality and needs.
“I’m not going to treat everybody the same and overlook whatever is going on with their individual ways — I’m not doing that,’’ Carroll said. “You’ve watched it and if you don’t think it’s working then too bad — I think it’s working pretty darn well.’’
As for the Super Bowl loss lingering, Carroll said any Super Bowl is “a big experience’’ win or lose and inevitably takes some time to move past.
But as for whether the loss to the Patriots was something the team had to deal with last season, Carroll said no. “It wasn’t even a question,’’ he said. “I don’t know if it ever even came up.’’
Wilson said the nature of football and the team’s high expectations means “there’s always tension. I don’t think it’s negative tension.’’
Wilson instead pointed to the team’s overall success as proof that the locker room is not divided.
“From my perspective, I believe we’re a team that’s been in the playoffs (every season), we’re a team that keeps winning — I don’t think teams do that if they’re truly divided,’’ he said.
And as for the Super Bowl loss lingering?
“I think if it’s hanging, we wouldn’t be as far as we’ve gotten,’’ Wilson said. “I think we’ve been too good the past two years.’’
Wilson also called Sherman — who in the article was portrayed as having something of a distant, if not strained, relationship with the quarterback — “one of the best teammates I could ever ask for.’’
And so it went.
“We’ve been challenged with growing and understanding and moving ahead, that’s just as normal as it could be,’’ Carroll said. “I’m proud of where we are and how we’ve handled our past. That article makes reference to stuff that’s years old now. This time of year, if you guys want to keep talking about it, you can, but it’s not a big deal to us at all. It isn’t an issue to us at all.”