Parade over, stadium celebration over, players out. The offseason has begun.
The players cleaned out their lockers Tuesday. Pete Carroll won’t see them again until April 21. Until then, players are on their own. Carroll is hoping the “Seahawks 24/7″ mantra sticks with them during that time.
“I think we walk out of here totally arm-in-arm with the thought we’re going to have a great offseason,” Carroll said. “That means the guys have to be really committed to having a great offseason because there are going to be a lot of distractions, a lot of people pulling them in different directions. We addressed that quite frankly that each guy has got to set his plan in motion and not let the distractions get in the way of his hard work.”
Some quick hits from Carroll:
> He mentioned Russell Okung may need another toe surgery, the Seahawks are deciding. Okung had a sore toe all season. Beyond that, he said the team is very healthy. Richard Sherman had a second-degree ankle sprain. Kam Chancellor’s hip bothered him throughout the season. Russell Wilson’s left shoulder also bothered him during the year, though Carroll was quick to point out it didn’t influence Wilson’s play during the season. Carroll said, though, “things always pop-up.”
“It’s by far the best effort and connection of keeping the health of our football team that I’ve ever been around,” Carroll said. “We come out of this season stronger. We were fast in the last game. We were strong and fit. So, that means that we go into the offseason with that as well. We have so few guys that are going to have to have the surgeries — there are always things that pop-up — we’re in a really good level of conditioning.”
> Carroll when asked about free agents: “We want this team together. We want to see if we can keep this team together. Every decision is difficult. Guys at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We’d like to keep it together the best we can.”
> Carroll said Percy Harvin felt “great” after the Super Bowl and that he was frustrated there wasn’t more he could do during the season.
> Richard Sherman got out of a walking boot yesterday. He had a second-degree ankle sprain. “It’s going to take him a number of weeks before he’s full speed,” Carroll said.
> On Kam Chancellor’s hip, which forced him to come off the field in the Super Bowl before returning. “He felt stronger at the end of the year than he did in the middle of it,” Carroll said. “We’ll take a good look at him. There’s nothing imminent right now that we need to deal with. But, we will really monitor that closely because it did nag him all season.”
> According to Carroll, wide receiver Sidney Rice has made an “unbelievable” recovery from surgery. “Within weeks, was back up with almost total extension. It’s almost and unheard of type of recovery.”
> On the coaching staff remaining intact: “I’m thrilled about that. We can maintain great continuity.” Carroll went on to laud Dan Quinn’s work this season.
> Carroll on Wilson: “There was a lot of concern you had about our offense and Russell’s performance. I would continue to tell you he was playing well within what we expected and needed in games. There’s always more production, there’s always more yards out there for us. But, I thought he demonstrated the finish in the playoffs … I thought was just an exquisite effort by the quarterback. His play was perfectly fitted to our football team and the plans that we needed to win the games. It couldn’t have been more obvious than in the Super Bowl. That was a near-perfect game for him. Hanging onto the football allows us to win. He was perfect with that. Distributing the ball as well as he did. My hopes are he’s going to take another really big step forward and continues to get better. He doesn’t give you the football anyway. He already understands that. His production, use of the players, understanding of the system will grow and it will allow us to do all sorts of cool things.”
> Carroll said Bennett already had his shoulders looked at and they are fine.
> Bennett again said he would like to stay. He’s waiting to see how it works out. He said, like any player, he would prefer a multi-year deal.
> Golden Tate said he had a number in mind for his next contract. He talked about how much he liked Seattle, the fans and team. Tate said he would like to be back and feels like he has proven himself. Asked if he would take the “hometown” discount, Tate said, “To an extent. I still have to take care of myself and my family. I kind of have a number in mind. I haven’t talked to my agent yet. I’ve been kind of trying to enjoy the Super Bowl for now then take that next step hopefully in the next week or two. In my eyes, I’d rather stay and play in a great organization, in a great city, around great people, great teammates for a little less than go to a crappy city, win a ball game every now and then and be miserable for six months and have a fan base that doesn’t care about the sport. Hopefully, it works out.
“I definitely don’t want to play against Seattle, I can tell you that,” Tate said. “I don’t want to play against Richard Sherman and Bam-Bam.”