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Carroll: Seahawks’ locker-room issues described in ESPN article is ‘old stuff’

RENTON – The Seahawks’ first open Organized Team Activity on Friday meant the first opportunity for them to address with the media at large the story published last week by ESPN detailing issues in Seattle’s locker room stemming from Super Bowl XLIX.

Coach Pete Carroll didn’t dismiss what was written by Seth Wickersham as untrue the way center Justin Britt, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and cornerback Richard Sherman essentially did last week. Britt called it “#fakenews” in a tweet shortly after the article was published. Carroll more so described it as old news, and he said repeatedly that the Seahawks’ locker room is in a good place.

“I think it was an old story that was revisited. I don’t even know where all the stuff came from,” Carroll said of Wickersham’s article, in which he was one of only two on-the-record sources. “I would say this: I’ve said to you guys before that the big wins are just as hard as the big losses if you let it be. Our first Super Bowl was a challenge to get back from. Our second Super Bowl was a challenge to get back from. That’s just how it is. It’s that impacting. And if you notice, most teams don’t make it back. The odds go that you don’t make it back to where you’ve been. So as we’ve been challenged with growing and understanding and moving ahead, I think it’s just as normal as it could be.

“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, and at this time of the year, if you guys want to keep talking about it, you can. It’s not a big deal to us at all. It isn’t an issue to us at all.”

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Asked if he addressed the article with the team, Carroll said with a dismissive wave of his hand: “No, no. It’s old stuff.”

But old stuff that, according to the Wickersham’s reporting, is still lingering in some parts of Seattle’s locker room. His article centered around how the recent drama with Sherman is rooted in Seattle’s last-second loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX and the rift it caused between he, Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson. It described resentment in Seattle’s locker room toward Wilson, especially among some defensive players, over the perception that he’s unfairly favored and seemingly exempt from Carroll’s criticism.

“I show favoritism to everyone of these guys, every one of them,” Carroll said when asked about that angle of the story. “I’m trying to figure each guy out and help them out as best I can, and I think we’re doing OK at doing that.”

Carroll elaborated on how he feels the best way to get the most out of players is to tailor his coaching to them individually.

“Each person is different. (While) they have to fit into the team, they’ve got to maintain the team expectations and standards and I’ve got to make sure I hold them to all of that, individually I treat those guys as well as I can to what they need and how it fits them. In terms of Russell, we’ve raised Russell from a neophyte in this program and he’s done an extraordinary job with us. He’s a great competitor and a great worker.

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“I can say that about Doug (Baldwin) and I can say it about Richard and Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright), but they’re all different, they’re all unique and I think they all call for, they deserve the individual attention that they get. And if I wasn’t doing that, I’m not reaching in to help them be the best they can be, and I’m not going to treat everybody the same and overlook whatever’s going on with their individual ways. I’m not doing that. And if you’ve watched it and you don’t think that’s working, then too bad. I think it’s working pretty darn well. It’s the best way we know how to do it. We’re demanding that these guys find their best and I’m demanding of myself that I find that in them and help them get there and stay there as long as we can and continue to be successful and consistent and get along and serve each other and all that.”

Speaking after Carroll, Wilson said that while there’s always tension in an NFL locker room, Seattle’s isn’t divided.

He called Sherman “one of the best teammates I could ever ask for” while praising him at length.

Carroll did not attempt to portray Seattle’s locker room as perfectly harmonious but said it isn’t how it may appear.

“In essence, I guess things are a lot different than maybe you guys think. I don’t know that, but in here and with us and the work that we’re doing, I think we’re in marvelous position,” he said. “That doesn’t mean everybody’s 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 to find their best and that’s what we’re working at right here. We ain’t doing it do it right all the time, but we’re trying.”