BY Art Thiel 07:56PM 10/20/2014

Thiel: Pete says Seahawks OK with Harvin deal

Carroll said he talked to nearly every Seahawk on the flight to St. Louis, and he said the players understood the need for the trade. Winning, of course, would help all forget.

Russell Wilson showed the Rams’ defense some heel in Saturday’s loss in St. Louis, where he gained 106 yards. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The question was whether, when Pete Carroll talked with his players during the plane ride to St. Louis Friday, they were being honest with the coach about their views on the trade to the New York Jets of Percy Harvin, whom several players are on record saying they liked as a teammate.

“Why would you put it like that?” Carroll said with a puzzled look Monday afternoon. “I think they answered very honestly. Some guys were sleeping, so I didn’t get to every guy. I took a good accounting of the fellas; it happened so suddenly for them.

“I know exactly how they feel about it. We had really good talk about it, across the board, on our team. I think it was accepted as pretty clear that this was the next thing we had to do. It was a team decision.”

Could be. But then, other observers of human nature might suggest honesty is the last thing some bosses care to hear when they search in-house for support on a controversial move.

The trade of Harvin that blew away the NFL over the weekend was news to Seahawks players as they boarded the bus at the VMAC. It was a big enough deal that Carroll felt compelled to work the flight talking it through, where presumably he heard from Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin and perhaps others who either on social media or in interviews said they liked him or at least didn’t see problems.

Carroll was more circumspect with reporters.

Asked for how long he knew that Harvin might be trouble, Carroll said, “I’ve known Percy since he was in high school. We recruited him in high school and didn’t get very close to getting him, but I’ve followed him for a long time. I’ve coached all kinds of different guys, and this is no surprise, you’ve always felt like this was going to work out. You were going to be able to figure out a way to make it work.

“With everybody that we decide to bring into this program, we do it for a specific reason, with great consideration, and we have a plan. We have a great vision for how it’s going to go and (with Harvin) it didn’t quite get there.”

Earlier in the day on his weekly radio show on ESPN 710, Carroll said, “I could get it done when we made this decision (to acquire Harvin in March 2013). I compete at this thing and I couldn’t make it work for our team and our players.”

Asked specifically to confirm that Harvin refused when told to re-enter the game against Dallas, Carroll offered a small smile: “He’s a Jet.”

Carroll was slightly more direct when asked about the chance that former FB Michael Robinson might be re-hired to fill in for his successor, Derrick Coleman, who broke his foot Sunday in warmups and will miss at least six weeks.

“He’s doing a really good job in the media right now and quite busy,” he said of Robinson’s new career. “We’re really encouraged by his efforts. He seems to be very well grooved in his business.”

That would be a no in Pete-speak. Asked the similar question Sunday, Carroll responded that all options were open. What may have changed is when Carroll read Robinson’s disclosure about a fight between Harvin and former Seahawks teammate Golden Tate that Robinson broke up the day before the Super Bowl.

“Something did go on at the Super Bowl that a lot of fans don’t know about,” Robinson said on his regular appearance on NFL Network’s morning TV show Sunday. “There was an altercation in the locker room between Percy and Golden.

“It saddens me because I was a leader on that team and to know that this information got out — usually Pete Carroll-coached teams, this type of thing stays in-house. There was an issue, I physically broke it up, I was there, you would have to ask those guys what they were arguing about, I’m not at liberty to talk about it.”

Well, Robinson talked about it, on national cable. As did most everyone else connected with the NFL.

It seems fairly certain Harvin was combative and insubordinate. Whether those traits, not unknown in NFL locker rooms, were sufficient to merit a rare midseason firing will have to leak out from New York and elsewhere, because it’s clear Carroll doesn’t care to explain much about the most controversial move of his Seattle tenure.

Asked whether the offense works better without having to accommodate Harvin, Carroll again demurred.

“I don’t know.  We’ll see — it’s one game,” he said. “Really, we played two and a half quarters well. We have a long ways to go.”

Whether he has a divided locker room won’t be disclosed by Carroll, and in any event there is another long flight to the East and a game in Carolina Sunday. How fast things heal may depend on how fast the 3-3 Seahawks get back to winning.



  • ReebHerb

    He was fun to watch. The other team watched him closely too. One thinks of true locker room craziness as Miami last year.

    • art thiel

      I’m not comparing this to the Dolphins. This team had success, and managing success, not achieving success, is the most difficult task in team sports. The Seahawks are struggling with this one.

  • PokeyPuffy

    very tactful, seems most other coaches would be more direct in their criticism of a former player that clearly stepped over boundaries. Is it some code of honor that Pete is conforming to, or does he sincerely like to avoid direct criticism? And the “team decision” statement seems like some double corporate-speak to me, it hardly seems possible they voted him off the island collectively.

    BTW interesting stat from MNF tonight: 4-3 teams make the playoffs 51% of the time, while 3-4 teams make it 15% of the time.

    • mtd9904

      Honor? Pete Carroll? The guy who bailed on his USC contract and then had the nerve to insist that Lynch honor his? The one who publicly criticized Mark Sanchez for leaving USC early (if you disagree, fair enough but once he’s made his decision, either support him since he’s your player or just keep it to yourself. Besides, Carroll seemed more upset that USC would be vulnerable at QB the next year and seeing how Sanchez’s replacement played, I don’t blame him).

      • eYeDEF

        But Carroll was vindicated in his criticism of Sanchez. Mark obviously wasn’t ready.

      • art thiel

        There’s no salary cap to manage for coaches. I suppose it’s fair to criticize any employee for leaving a contract early, but it’s done it business all the time.

        You’re right about Sanchez, even if Pete was also right. After the decision, there was no point in being critical.

    • art thiel

      Carroll can’t be in the business of directly criticizing another team’s player. But obviously the Seahawks mgt doesn’t mind reporters finding out from sources about Harvin’s misdeeds.

      NFL teams, and all pro sports teams, have leaked bad news about current and former players when it suits the team’s agenda, just as they’ve over-praised players when it suits the team’s agenda.

  • ll9956

    I can’t blame PC for being elusive about all the inside info on the Harvin trade, but calling it a “team decision”? Did he survey all the players and ask them to vote, assuring them that the majority would prevail? I’m sure that didn’t happen. This was decided by PC and JS, which is how it should be. That’s what they’re paid to do. They certainly can talk it out with the players, but calling it a “team decision” is flat-out disingenuous.

    • eYeDEF

      I found that statement really odd too.

    • art thiel

      As with any personnel decision in any team sport, it rests with management, not players. They should never be invited into the decision, and I’m sure they weren’t. But it’s certainly worthwhile to explain a big move.

      To say that it was a team decision, implying participation by players, is not accurate. Pete’s inability to provide some candor hurts cred with players and public. Not a major foul, just disappointing.

    • whoKarez

      I don’t think he meant team decision as in the team made the decision. I think he meant it as a ‘for the team” decision.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    The whole I wish him well~lets move on thing is indeed noble. Seriously?Wouldnt you deem it counter productive to kick him to the curb as well?He was in the Seahawk family til just a whisper ago.Theres enough egg on the face to go around just in the fact that living in bliss with Harvin turned into a resounding bust.
    Its clear with AZ so far looking very threatening in stealing the division back this year that the coaches felt harmony needed to be restored(pronto) to get back to the win now philosophy they have. Drop the its all about Harvin mode on offense and go back to relying on the moxie and savvy of beast mode packing with multiple blue collar threats receiving that got us to the Superbowl last year. Miss Harvin?sure. Win without Harvin? See 2103.

    • art thiel

      That’s the basic plan from here on. Aside from the fights, Harvin apparently warped the offensive agenda so much that he became a detriment.

  • jafabian

    If Schneider and Carroll had concerns that if Percy stayed any longer the team would become divided and he’d be a disruption to the team chemistry that might be too late. When ESPN reported that Wilson was against the trade shows that told me that one of the leaders of the team thought the situation was fixable as well as the comments from various Seahawks via Twitter.

    Carroll, Schneider and Harvin have all been gracious and respectable in addressing the whole situation and the Seahawk players for the most part have wisely kept their grievances in house, though some thoughts have been made public thru the aforementioned Twitter. It’ll be interesting to see if this team can go forward from here or will they crash and burn. They still have the talent to repeat but I’m not sure of their mindset.

    • art thiel

      Uncharted territory from here on. Wilson’s remarks can be taken a few ways: Sincerely, or support for a former teammate whom he was rumored to be in conflict with, or a repudiation of the “team” decision.

      That’s where being less than candid hurts the Seahawks. Fans and players are free to speculate and spread rumors. I realize there are limits about what can be said about another team’s player, but I also think it’s OK for players to say, “I liked him. He made us better. I disagreed with the trade. But it’s done and I respect the reasons. I’m good with the players and coaches here.”

      How hard is that?

      • jafabian

        Totally agree. I was watching the new TV series Scorpion yesterday and they had a line which I just loved. “Secrets breed mistrust.”

    • whoKarez

      You can bet that no one will refuse to enter the game from here on out. Makes me wonder about some of the sudden releases in the past and other players that took time off for personal reasons.

  • notaboomer

    robinson said the team ethic is to not let stuff get out such as the story about harvin punching tate. maybe harvin has a domestic violence incident that is about to come out and get him suspended. maybe harvin was upset with russell wilson’s past as the schoolyard child beater. maybe harvin was mad at caroll because he didn’t get reggie bush money to come to usc from high school. it would be unreasonable not to speculate.

    • art thiel

      There are pieces to this puzzle missing from the table. We probably will learn more as players tell other players/agents. I realize Pete can’t say something bad about another team’s player now. But to think that avoidance will help it go away is foolish.

  • Matt712

    Suffice to say, most of us will never know all that went on at the VMAC as regards Percy Harvin. But what is obvious – in the manner of which he was released and in retrospect – is that, despite flashes of brilliance, he was not quite working in Seattle. From the moment he was acquired, he was not operating in the confines of a system that Pete Carroll is trying to build and sustain – a system whose number one edict is “All In.”

    Harvin tweeted his labrum injury before the team could announce it. He independently sought and received treatment for it on the east coast. He spent a good portion of last season away from the team. Regardless of temperament, he was widely regarded as a “different type of guy who keeps to himself.” …And finally, he refused to play during a game when his number was called. That alone warrants dismissal, but none of it is “All In.”

    On the field he was not making a big enough impact to justify his salary – not because he wasn’t capable – but because they discovered it was how hard it was to feature two vastly different football players who are equally as good (arguably, IMO Marshawn is a better player). Harvin is too good to play the role of ‘complementary/distraction’ and not good enough to warrant taking snaps away from Lynch. It was hurting both players. It was hurting the team.

    Carroll/Bevell probably could’ve (and would’ve) eventually meshed the talents as they had envisioned if that were the only issue, but when coupled with above mentioned personality, the outcome became pretty clear. In fact, Carroll intimated as much, saying that getting rid of Harvin wasn’t the difficult part of the decision; it was the effect it would have on the players and dealing with the fallout. He chose to tear off the band-aid.

    • art thiel

      You’re tracking well, Matt. There was and continues to be impact. For Pete to say there was no impact is simply disingenuous. Anyone familiar with group work behavior knows that outlier characters can be hailed or despised by co-workers. In Harvin, Pete at least admits he couldn’t make it work.

      I respect that he responded well to his shortcoming and dispatched the sunk cost. It’s disappointing to hear him dismiss the irritation the move created for some.

  • M

    Bevel’s play-calling is the problem and has been the problem. Play action to Harvin on a post, whatz wrong with that? He scored 3 td’s against Washington – all called back. But it’s Bevel’s play calling that baffles me and their is no love lost between him and Marshawn. They fired the employee instead of the mid-level manager, bad move.

  • I think it’s a fair bet that there will be more news coming on Percy Harvin over the next few weeks. Further, except for the charges of disingenuousness, that news will likely show that coach Carroll and John Schneider did exactly the right thing. That’s where I’ll put my money.