Attempting to unstir the pot, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said LB Bruce Irvin’s remarks about wanting to play in Atlanta, his hometown, for the Falcons after the 2015 season were misunderstood.
“I’m really glad you asked me that, because he didn’t say that,” Carroll told reporters Saturday in Los Angeles, where he was inducted into USC’s Hall of Fame. “We’ve been talking all along. He has been working out in Atlanta for these three weeks, and he said (that) in response to the question ‘Do you want to come back home?’ He said everybody likes to come back home, and it’s a dream to come back home.
“It wasn’t in reference to leaving us and coming back (to the Falcons). He was really adamant about it, and I asked him to leave it and not go at it anymore.”
Irvin told BlackSportsOnline.com, “I’m going to be in Atlanta next season,” at an Atlanta Hawks playoff game.
Via his Twitter account, Irvin was upset with the Seahawks’ decision not to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, which would have cost the Seahawks $7.8 million in 2016. Irvin will play his fourth year in Seattle this fall for $1.67 million base salary. Including his $1.3 million prorated bonus, it’s a $2.9 million hit against the NFL salary cap.
Irvin will be eligible to be a free agent after the season, but the Falcons cannot discuss a player under contract with another team, nor can Irvin dictate any terms. The Atlanta rumor was fueled by the fact that Dan Quinn, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator, is now the Falcons head coach.
But Irvin couldn’t wait to spout off about the option, profanely objecting to the Seahawks’ decision on Twitter.
“Faced way tougher adversity getting outta them streets coming up!,” he wrote. “That’s s— is nothing! F—THAT OPTION!”
Irvin is becoming a poster child for athletes who should avoid Twitter. On April Fool’s Day, he sent out a fake apology for being arrested on a DUI charge, also fake. A number of fans and likely all of Seahawks management didn’t find it amusing.
“Anybody can put those messages out, and they have a life to them,” Carroll said. “Our guys are getting better at understanding that, and Bruce has learned again from this lesson.”
At the moment, it appears the only way Irvin can return in 2016 is to negotiate an extension that brings down the salary number. But that seems unlikely because the linebacker position has already had one extension with K.J. Wright, and another one is underway for Bobby Wagner. To tie up more cap space in the same position seems implausible.