RENTON — In his first public comments since the franchise-altering trade of Russell Wilson, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spent the first 12 minutes of a news conference Wednesday afternoon building a theme around second chances.
He was, it became clear, talking broadly about himself and general manager John Schneider, partners in the management of the Seattle Seahawks since 2010. They’ve earned the right, as Carroll sees it, to try to construct another championship-caliber roster in this after-Russ era.
“We’ve been successful for a long time and we’re proud of that,” Carroll said at one point. “We know what we’re doing.”
More specifically, Carroll dived into the second-chance opportunities for the quarterbacks the Seahawks are considering as Wilson’s successor.
In fact, the first quarterback Carroll mentioned by name was not Wilson … but Geno Smith, who has been Wilson’s backup the past two seasons. Now a 31-year-old free agent, Smith is looking for another chance at a starting job, and Carroll expressed interest in bringing Smith back to give him that opportunity.
“Look at when he finally got a chance to play last year (when Wilson was injured),” Carroll said. “He came in and did some great stuff for us.”
Carroll next mentioned Drew Lock, the 25-year-old QB the Seahawks acquired from Denver in the Wilson trade. He’s another second-chance QB candidate, and Carroll and Schneider sound earnest in their belief that Lock can be a viable starting QB.
Shortly after that, Carroll got to Wilson. As Carroll has come to see things, Wilson was seeking his own second chance in the NFL — a chance to branch out on his own, if you will, with a new team.
“He was a great player for us,” Carroll said, “but now (it’s) his second opportunity, and look what he’s gonna do with it. He’s gonna fly.”
Almost nine minutes into his opening remarks, Carroll mentioned another quarterback who continues to hold out hope for another NFL opportunity.
“You’re going to ask questions about Colin Kaepernick …,” Carroll said to the assembled media, “so let me just put it out there: He contacted me the other day to say, ‘Hey, I’d like to get a shot; I’m working out.’ So he sent me some videos and next thing I know he’s working out with (Seahawks receiver) Tyler Lockett. I don’t know how that happened, but hey does that guy deserve a second shot? I think he does, somewhere. I don’t know if it’s here. I don’t know where it is. I don’t know if it’s even in football.”
Kaepernick hasn’t played since the end of the 2016 season, and the Seahawks are the only known team to have talked to him about a contract since then. Could the 34-year-old Kaepernick be a realistic option for the Seahawks now?
Carroll was asked just that in a follow-up question Wednesday.
“I don’t know,” Carroll said. “But he’s making a remarkable bid for it, to sustain his conditioning over the four years he’s been out, going on five (years). Who knows? I don’t know. We’ll see.”
For the record, Schneider was asked Wednesday about reports linking the Seahawks to Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who faces 22 active civil suits accusing him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Watson has reportedly met with New Orleans and Carolina this week.
“The way to answer that is that he’s under contract right now, and he has a no-trade clause as well,” Schneider said.
Lock and Jacob Eason are, for now, the only QBs on the Seahawks roster, but the Seahawks do have eight picks in next month’s NFL draft — including a top-10 pick for the first time since 2010 — and they could bring in another veteran free agent to join the QB competition.
“We’ll continue to explore options, but we have a ton of faith in Drew,” Schneider said. “We’re excited about a change of scenery for him. … He’s a guy, in my opinion, the media beat down a little bit. So we’re excited to get him into our culture with our coaching staff, and we’ll continue to look for guys to compete with him. … There’s a number of guys (who) are still available (in free agency), and we’re gonna continue to work through that.”