Pete Carroll’s first few hours spent away from being the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks were spent around some of the players that helped lift him to his greatest triumph.
After stepping down as Seahawks coach Wednesday, Carroll was joined that night by several members of Seattle’s 2013 Super Bowl team in a private party that, according to the Seattle News Tribune, was set up with just a few hours’ notice.
The party was publicized in a social media post late that night by that 2013 team’s quarterback, now-Denver Broncos signal-caller Russell Wilson, as well as several members of the famed “Legion of Boom” defense that became the calling card of that golden era of Seahawks football. The party was, appropriately, hosted at the Seattle restaurant “Legion” co-owned by two of the faces of that defense, cornerback and now “Undisputed” co-host Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor.
Several “LoB” members at the event included Sherman, Chancellor, current linebacker Bobby Wagner and former cornerback DeShawn Shead, the last of whom returned to Seattle as an assistant coach under Carroll for the past three seasons.
Other Seahawks in attendance who played for Carroll were former wide receivers Sydney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, current wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, cornerback Quandre Diggs, offensive lineman Charles Cross, linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and safety Julian Love.
“It was incredible,” Sherman said, “It was a lot of emotion. … It was a love fest. It was Pete giving some of his speeches and his jokes and the things that he says all of the time, some of the stories that he tells — it was hilarious because you could hear guys quoting word-for-word the stories, [whether they were] older guys that he coached 10 years ago or guys that he coached just this year. It really just shows the impact that he’s made on so many young men — the style that he’s had, the love that he has from his guys, from his players.”
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Carroll’s wife Glena was also there, Sherman said, hours after Pete broke down in tears praising her for her support through his journey as a coach. Sherman said he hoped she felt the appreciation from her husband’s former players as well.
“It was a fitting moment,” Sherman said. “It was kind of put together last minute and guys showed up for it on a Wednesday night, middle of the week. He’s the guy people show up for. Obviously, Russell even flew into town to get this moment of closure with Pete and the guys.
“It was tears, it was hugs, there were laughs. There was a little bit of fussing. There was a lot of talk about old memories, old times, old games, old jokes in the locker room, old meetings. There was so much history there.”
Sherman spoke at length about Carroll’s legacy on Thursday’s episode of “Undisputed.”
“He’s one of the legends of the game,” Sherman said. “He’s meant so much to [Seattle], the way he’s changed the culture not only of the team, but the city, the outlook of this city. When he first got there, not a lot of people were thinking of Seattle. It wasn’t a big NFL market. … People were thinking about it as South Alaska when I first got there. Now, people think about it as a destination. Guys want to go there. Guys wanted to play for Pete Carroll.”
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As Sherman pointed out, he grew up in Los Angeles watching Carroll build a college football dynasty at USC, then got recruited by Carroll out of high school, the start of what is now a nearly 20-year relationship between the two men.
“If you’ve done martial arts, he’s like your sensei, your master,” Sherman said. “He unlocks the greatest potential in guys in ways that are unique and out of the ordinary. If you came into the building at times during my time there and walked into a team meeting, you might see music blasting, guys shooting baskets, you might see Pete playing one-on-one against one of the players. And you might think, ‘How is this guy running this program? These guys are about to go 0-16.’
“But it’s the way he talks to his players individually. How he cares. How he checks on them. How he talks to them during games, during practices, wanting to understand what they’re going through, what they’re thinking, what they’re seeing out there. It’s the moments and times where you push and pull, where you poke and prod. Where you have a routine. Where you have ‘Tell the Truth Mondays,’ the ‘Turnover Thursdays,’ perfection on Fridays, the walk-through on Saturdays.”
Sherman said it did not take long for every Seahawks player to know exactly what to expect from Carroll day in and day out.
“The [defensive backs] knew he was going to come in there and make you solemnly swear you won’t get beat deep on a short-yardage play,” Sherman said. “He’s a guy that takes every level of his team seriously, he takes it all to heart and goes out there and makes sure he’s in tune and in line with everything that is going on and every person on his team. He has a story, he has a relationship with every single person on the staff, every single player on the team. So when you go out there and he says, ‘Best man is going to play, I don’t care if you’re a first-rounder or undrafted’ and you send out 53 guys, then you walk out on game day with the best 22 [starters] most times.
“That’s the culture that he built, and that’s why we were so special.”
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