Before Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks, I couldn’t stand him. As a die-hard Husky fan and University of Washington alumnus, I cringed when Southern California’s former head coach came to town.
Of course, some of it could have been obvious hatred towards the best; it is easy to hate the Yankees, Lakers, or other dynasties because of their success.
Watching Pete Carroll parade up and down the field commending his players for big plays made against your favorite football team definitely added salt to the wound. I learned to hate Pete Carroll, and I’m sure several other Seahawks fans would agree with me.
Apparently, some professional players feel the same way.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald published a nice interview with running back Marshawn Lynch, who the Seahawks traded for last Tuesday. Lynch played football at the University of California, another Pac-10 school and Southern California rival.
Lynch wasn’t the biggest fan of Pete Carroll in college:
“I couldn’t stand him. I couldn’t stand him, man. Straight up, I couldn’t stand him. He was one of the only coaches you’d see running up and down the field like he was playing in the game. Running up, jumping, high-fiving his players. They’re over there dogging us, and you’re just sitting there watching them have all this fun, like, ‘Man, what is he doing? Run me to that sideline so I can hit one time.’ But man, I just always thought he was a fun guy, somebody that likes to have fun and win, which is something he’s had a career of doing—winning. . . I could probably get used to it a little better now that I’m on the same side.”
It is definitely a different story when your guy is doing the high-fiving. It took awhile to get used to, but it isn’t so bad being on the same side.
About a week ago, LenDale White had a few things to say about Pete Carroll in an interview with Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “Pete Carroll? The same Pete Carroll who ran out on ‘SC?” White said, obviously upset with his former head coach. “I have no comment on Pete. I better wait ’til I’m on a team one day before I say anything.”
Unfortunately, LenDale, the damage was already done. You can’t make a statement about someone, retract the statement and refrain from further comment, and then expect the newspapers and blogs not to pick up on it.
And breaking another pledge, LenDale White has commented on Pete Carroll again. Even though he is not on a team, he continues to say things about Seattle’s newest head coach. This time, White opened up during a radio interview with 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, Tennessee.
Again, White prefaced his comments with, “I don’t wanna badmouth nobody, but …”
White started by commenting on the trust he had with Pete Carroll. “I don’t know about trust. I don’t know really about trust now,” he said, cutting the radio host’s question short. “I played for him.”
“There were guys there that I trusted like Todd McNair, Lane Kiffin, even Steve Sarkisian,” White continued, apparently not badmouthing anyone. “Some of those other guys, sometimes they’re just a face to an organization. When you got one hundred kids with the University of Southern California, his life is bigger than that.”
By other guys, it is quite obvious LenDale White was referring to Pete Carroll.
And White, obviously upset about the sanctions placed on his alma mater, didn’t refrain from blaming Pete Carroll.
“I don’t know. Maybe the boosters were paying him as well. Maybe they told him to keep it quiet, you never know,” White said of Carroll’s supposed unawareness at Southern Cal. “It’s hard for me to say. If someone has a brand new home, or supposedly got some brand new cars or something, that you wouldn’t know … To me, that’s bologna.”
“If I knew something like that was gonna happen, I would definitely jump out,” White said, referring to the sanctions influencing Carroll’s decision to coach the Seahawks. “I would too, especially if I was getting paid eight million dollars per year to go up there. I would too.”
Maybe LenDale White is bitter about the Seattle Seahawks releasing him. Maybe he is frustrated that most of Carroll’s attention at USC was given to Reggie Bush instead of him. For whatever reason, White has almost made a habit of badmouthing Carroll following his release.
“I was shocked. I’m still shocked,” White said of his release. “I would figure if there was a problem or anything needed to be said or done, if it was my old coach, he could grab me to the side and whisper something in my ear and tell me to step it up or do something different. I would figure that, but it was something else. So obviously, you know, it wasn’t trust. It was just, whatever.”
LenDale White continued to berate Pete Carroll, and even compared his knowledge in Seattle to his awareness in Los Angeles at Southern California.
“I called Pete,” White told his interviewers, describing what happened when he found out about his release. “I asked Pete what was going on. Pete was just Pete. Pete never knows anything, right?”
Quite the low blow, if you ask me. Maybe I’m reading too much in between the lines, but White seems bitter. He seems frustrated and angry.
Near the end of the interview, I think he reveals why he has such a problem with Pete Carroll: “Going back to college, me and Pete were just me and Pete. He wasn’t hugging me after I scored touchdowns or after I broke the SC touchdown record. I was a player, he was the coach. That’s how we kept it. I didn’t get a phone call from Pete ever, and that’s how it was.”
Oh, now I understand. LenDale White is jealous, angry, and envious of the players who received extracurricular attention from Carroll. White feels a sense of entitlement for his past contributions and accomplishments.
Maybe White needs to look in the mirror. Past accomplishments won’t earn you a roster spot in the National Football League (in most cases). An average running back like White needs to work hard and make the most of any given opportunities.
White won’t admit it, but he feels a sense of entitlement. And that is one of the reasons why he is no longer with the Seattle Seahawks.
The entire interview with LenDale White can be heard here.
Tags: football, head coach, interview, Lane Kiffin, LenDale White, National Football League, nfl, Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush, Running Back, sanctions, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Southern California, Tennessee Titans, Trojans, USC
Very rarely do I find myself in agreement with the opinion of Mike Florio. He typically presents unfair arguments against the Seahawks; unfortunately, the Seahawks haven’t been very good lately and his views have been quite accurate.
Florio recently wrote an article addressing the harsh sanctions placed on the University of Southern California. Inevitably, as the former coach of the Trojans, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was a prime target of Florio’s criticism:
As to Carroll, he should lose his current job. Of course, he won’t; Seattle Seahawks president Tod Leiweke hired Carroll at a time when Leiweke knew or with the exercise of due diligence should have known that Carroll presided over a program poised to be slapped silly by the NCAA. And if the Seahawks had no qualms about it then, they should have none now.
Of course, I don’t necessarily agree that Pete Carroll should lose his current job. But I do think that there is something wrong when a head coach can bolt a program facing penalties for greener pastures. Carroll received a five-year, $32.5 million deal to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Although his legacy at Southern Cal is likely tarnished, the coach left Los Angeles mostly unscathed and a little wealthier.
I don’t think the Seattle Seahawks were wrong to hire Pete Carroll and put him in charge of resurrecting the franchise. Pete Carroll and Tod Leiweke are not to blame for this unfair cycle; there is something wrong with the system.
Pete Carroll should not be a scapegoat, and Florio is wrong to call for his job. Carroll is just doing what other coaches have done and the system needs to be changed before anyone can blame him.
Consider John Calipari, the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. Calipari left the University of Memphis when the school was likely facing sanctions from the NCAA – not even one year following his departure, Memphis was forced to vacate its 2007-08 runner-up finish and 38 wins because a star freshman player was “ineligible.”
Memphis suffered the consequences of Calipari’s scandalous methods. Calipari, on the other hand, had just signed an eight-year, $31.65 million contract laden with incentives to coach the Kentucky Wildcats.
And the worst part? Calipari had the left the University of Massachusetts to coach Memphis in the same fashion.
To continue Florio’s attack on Pete Carroll:
Still, as a practical matter Carroll’s grace period just shrank. Whatever “plan” previously applied to him — five years, three years, two — the window necessarily shrank, because Carroll’s collegiate career lost much of its luster.
And Carroll can disagree all he wants with the findings or the outcome, blaming everyone and anyone but himself for the damage done to the Trojans program. Folks who get it know that Carroll’s hands carry a thick veneer of grime. And they in turn recognize that justice won’t truly be served until the only coaching Carroll ever does entails holding an Xbox controller.
Sure, Pete Carroll probably could have done something to stop the Reggie Bush scandal from happening. But until the system is changed, the head coaches shouldn’t be blamed for playing the game.
Even Don James, glorified in Washington Husky football lore, admitted he didn’t pay any particular attention to what players did outside of football:
“I don’t have any rules that say what the hell players do with their lives. That’s not my job…. There’s a lot of things that players do. I let them walk around with cellular phones, wear earrings, which I don’t particularly enjoy. But I don’t run their lives.”
Of course, Washington was punished by the NCAA in the early 1990’s and received sanctions similar to those imposed on Southern Cal last week.
The Seattle Seahawks did not make a mistake earlier this year when they hired Pete Carroll to become their next head coach. They didn’t purposely – or wrongfully – ignore any information about Carroll’s tenure at Southern Cal, and the sanctions placed on the school shouldn’t make Tod Leiweke think twice about his decision to bring Carroll to Seattle.
There is, however, something wrong with the big picture.
The NCAA or some other presiding organization should be able to individually punish head coaches; coaches should not be able to leave schools facing penalty without any punishment themselves. The system should not allow Pete Carroll to leave Southern California in ashes and find riches in the National Football League.
But until the system changes, we should not blame Pete Carroll.
Tags: Derrick Rose, Don James, football, head coach, John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats, legacy, Memphis Tigers, Mike Florio, National Football League, NCAA, nfl, Opinion, Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush, salary, sanctions, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Southern California, Tod Leiweke, Trojans, USC