Carroll ‘honored’ to face Patriots, his former team

Oct 16, 2012, 12:40 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2015, 3:22 pm

By Brady Henderson

You bet Pete Carroll relished every bit of Sunday’s win over the Patriots, his former employer. But it wasn’t because of any animosity for the owner who fired him or the coach who replaced him.

Carroll said as much during his weekly visit with “Brock and Salk” on Monday, a day after the Seahawks stunned the Patriots with a fourth-quarter rally at CenturyLink Field.

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft fired Pete Carroll after Carroll went 27-21 in three seasons as New England’s coach. (AP)

“I was really honored in a sense … I was honored to be playing against that club, just because of all that they’ve done and how much respect I have for [the championship franchise] that they have become, not just one year but in all these times,” Carroll said.

Before the game, Carroll had a lengthy conversation on the field with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who fired Carroll and his 27-21 record following the 1999 season. Carroll said Kraft has been “very classy” in his conversations with others about Carroll’s demise in New England.

No hard feelings for coach Bill Belichick, either.

“We’ve been very cordial and very respectful under the circumstances of him kinda ousting me out of there in New England,” Carroll said with a chuckle after noting that Belichick once visited him at USC to talk football.

There was no icy postgame handshake from Belichick, who has become known for those throughout the years. Only compliments.

“He had said to me before that he thought we had a terrific looking young football team. He thought we looked pretty sharp,” Carroll said. “And then afterward he said, ‘You guys have a good team and it was a great win. Congratulations.'”

Added Carroll: “I have as high a regard as I could for a coach for Bill Belichick. It was cool that he kind of returned it a little bit.”

Those hoping the Seahawks’ next game will provide some coach vs. coach drama might be disappointed.

Carroll’s history with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh figures to garner at least some attention this week with Seattle traveling to San Francisco for a Thursday night game that will determine first place in the NFC West, though it shouldn’t be nearly as big a story as it was last season.

Carroll and Harbaugh have faced each other twice since their infamous postgame exchange in 2009, when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford. Both have downplayed the incident each time. It wasn’t mentioned during Carroll’s conversation with “Brock and Salk” on Monday.

“Jim has done a great job. He has become a fantastic coach in a coach’s family,” Carroll said. “His dad, Jack, I knew years ago when we were battling as secondary coaches in the Big Ten and all that … just raised a kid that is really a heck of a football coach and he’s done a marvelous job.”

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