As several key players recover from injuries, Pete Carroll was confident the Seahawks have not been distracted by their own activism regarding national events ahead of Sunday’s game with San Francisco.
QB Russell Wilson “was really the best that he’s been in the last two weeks — he looked really good today,” said Pete Carroll Friday. He also said WRs Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are likely to go. RB Thomas Rawls and RG Germain Ifedi are unlikely to go.
And the Seahawks coach was persuaded that his players’ growing political activism is no distraction heading into the 1 p.m. Sunday game against San Francisco at the Clink.
Baldwin, CB Richard Sherman and DT Michael Bennett used their media briefings this week to advocate for answers to underlying social trauma exposed by episodes of police shootings of African American men in the streets of Charlotte and Tulsa.
His players “have done everything they could possibly do to get ready,” Carroll said after practice. “They are extraordinary competitors and without question, their heads and minds are in the right place. They get to love life, too, and they have their day.
“During the football season, they have their Tuesdays to do stuff. They’re not just talking, they’re pointed at action. They’ve taken steps, and they’re taking people with them, to see what we really can do, and be a factor in a very positive way. I don’t know what you could ask more from them.”
Carroll has been more openly supportive of his players’ interest in declaring publicly their activism about social injustice than any coach in the NFL. He helped organize the team-wide, national-anthem demonstration in which players, coaches and staff link arms in a display of unity, which will continue Sunday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of where they’re putting their focus when they have their free time,” he said.
Sherman made a case Wednesday about critics’ anger over players’ kneeling during that anthem, which has allowed opponents to ignore the message behind the gesture. Bennett Thursday advocated for a white player stepping up instead of an all-black protest.
“You need a white guy to join the fight,” Bennett said. “The white guy is super-important to the fight. For people to really see social injustices, there must be someone from the other side who recognizes the problem, because a lot of times if just one race says there’s a problem, nobody is realistic about it.”
Baldwin offered an intriguing idea Thursday, asking the attorneys general in each state to review police procedures with a view to emphasize de-escalation tactics instead of militarization.
“As an American black male in this country, I’m suggesting calling — I’m demanding — that all 50 state attorney generals call for a review of their training policies for police and law enforcement,” Baldwin said in a prepared statement, “to eliminate militaristic cultures while putting a higher emphasis on de-escalation tactics and crisis-management measures.”
Baldwin, whose father has been a police officer of long service in the family hometown of Pensacola, FL., was careful to calibrate his message.
“We know that there’s a select few — a very minute few — of law enforcement who are not abiding by those laws and policies,” he said. “We also know that there are laws and policies that are in place that are not correcting the issue that we have in our society right now.”
Baldwin’s idea drew a quick response from Washington’s AG, Bob Ferguson:
.@DougBaldwinJr Watched your press conference today with interest. I’ll be reaching out soon to see if you’d like to sit down and chat. -BF
— WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) September 22, 2016
Regarding the standard hostilities of a football Sunday, Carroll said that RB Christine Michael is ready to take a full load of 20-25 carries in the event Rawls sits out with a shin injury after being kicked during the Rams game Sunday.
“We are prepared to go (without Rawls) if he can’t go,” Carroll said, “but we’d love to see him if he can get there.”
Rookie RB C.J. Prosise has practiced all week and may be ready after dealing with a cast protecting a broken bone in his right hand.
The Seahawks have not replaced the fullback spot emptied when Will Tukuafu was cut earlier in the week.
“We do have a situation up there,” Carroll said. “We’ll wait and see.”