Pete Carroll has talked to Steve Sarkisian within the last six weeks. And Carroll is hopeful his former top assistant at USC -- the former University of Washington and SC head man whom the Trojans fired in October before Sarkisian sought help for alcohol abuse -- can return to coaching soon.
“I’m sure when Steve’s ready to do it he’ll get back. And he’s a fantastic coach,” the Seahawks’ coach said Thursday at the NFL combine here. “In life a lot of people go through some issues in their lives, and he’s working through it now and getting himself ready and right to get back to compete again.
“I’ve always thought of real highly of his coaching ability. … (he is) working really hard and he’s doing well and making progress.”
I asked Carroll if he would like to put Sarkisian on his Seahawks staff.
“I’m not going to go there right now,” Carroll said.
Here is all of what Carroll said off the stage in a corridor of Lucas Oil Stadium beyond his podium comments at the combine Thursday:
MICHAEL BENNETT SWITCHING AGENTS, HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM?
"Yeah, we have visited. Visited over there at the Pro Bowl, you know. And a nice little stay there. Turned out an MVP performance – not on offense, on defense. Michael’s doing good. Mike’s got business. I respect the heck out him. He did a great job this season, and we’re looking forward to another big year."
DO YOU WANT TO REWARD HIM REPORTING ON TIME, PLAYING THROUGH INJURY, EXCELLING WHILE NOT HAPPY ABOUT CASH?
"Well, Mike did all the things he’s supposed to do, you know. And he did it with a flair. I love that he brought leadership. He brought great energy – and really terrific consistency, too – to our season. We’d like to reward everybody. Can’t always do that."
WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR CONTRACT EXTENDED BEFORE ITS FINAL SEASON?
"I’m doin’ great. I’m doin’ great." (grins)
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU ABOUT PLAYERS YOU DIDN’T PLAY AS MUCH LAST SEASON?
"We got some great indicators from our guys. Tyler of course had an incredible season, totally gave us a great boost in the return game but did a fantastic job at receiver. Can’t wait to work him into all the stuff that we are doing. Frank Clark had a fantastic year for us getting going. He’s going to be a huge factor for us. Really showed a lot of great attributes about work ethic and learning and hanging in there, competing and showing up on game day. He did a lot of great stuff. Thomas Rawls. Those are three highlight guys that were really impacting factors in the season. There were other guys, but those were the guys that jumped out."
RUSSELL OKUNG REPRESENTING HIMSELF AS FREE AGENT…
"It’s a challenge. No, it doesn’t change the dynamic, but it is a challenge. It poses a challenge for him to do a nice job with this process. It’s a very complicated process. He’s very close to us. We care a tremendous amount about him. We’re hoping it all works out right. Of course we’d love him back – just like our other guys."
EARL THOMAS PULLED HIMSELF OUT OF THE PRO BOWL. ANY CONCERN?
"Yeah, I really didn’t get any specifics on it. He just didn’t feel like he was right to do it."
ANYONE WHO HAD SURGERY THAT YOU INITIALLY DIDN’T THINK WOULD NEED IT?
"Um….we’re in pretty good shape. Nothing … other than Sherm Smith. We’re in pretty good shape. I’m sure I’m missing someone, but nothing very significant."
TYLER LOCKETT CAT SCAN AT LAST YEAR’S COMBINE…
"Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They did have -- not to get specific about it – but there were some interest in an area. And as soon as they took at a look at it they figured it out and they solved the issue pretty quickly. There was a time there – and you’d have to talk to him about how long that timeframe was – that he was a little uncertain as to what would happen next. That’s happens to some guys this time of year."
KAM CHANCELLOR, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH HIM?
"We’ve got a lot of work to do. Really, the guys who are under contract can’t be the first-priority guys right now, in any order. We are really digging in, trying to keep our team together. And that will always be the way we go about it. We love Kam, and Mike – the question, you brought that up – we love those guys. And we are going to do all we can to make sure they can stay with us."
DO YOU ANTICIPATE USING FRANCHISE TAG?
"We never talk about that at this time."
BRUCE IRVIN’S STATUS?
"We are not really talking about individual guys, specifically. He’s one of the guys that has been a great contributor for us. We love Bruce on our team. So we are dealing with all these guys all at the same time. We’ll see how it works out."
LAST YEAR YOU HAD TO TALK TO HIM AFTER THE NEWS SURFACED HOW HE MIGHT WANT TO BE IN ATLANTA W/ QUINN, YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GOT PAST THAT NOW?
"That’s because someone in the media brought that up. I don’t think he really jumped out there to me asking these questions. Yeah, there’s always stuff to deal with. There’s always stuff. And there will continue to be. And with every guy we will work with them as they get through it. And everyone hopes to say the right thing and do the right thing, trying to get that done. There will be more of them, I’m sure."
IS THIS COMBINE A BENEFICIAL PROCESS?
"Sure. This is one aspect of it. This is one of the stages of this journey that we go through, trying to figure this stuff out, and to how they fit and how we project them to be a player. This isn’t the end-all. It doesn’t tell you everything. But it does give you a chance to see them compete, in this setting. We’ve done this so much that we can get a lot of information out of that. We also get to see guys in groups. We get to see these guys as they go through. We get to interview guys, one on one and sometimes in a meeting room, the 60 guys we interview. So there is a lot we can get out of this that we can compare to other years and all that. But it’s just one step of the way. But it’s a pretty cool show."
DO YOU WANT A VETERAN BACKUP QB AGAIN AS YOU’VE HAD?
"We’d love to have it in that format. It’s worked out great. We’ll see what happens."
HOW SEASON WENT CHANGE WHERE YOU THINK PROGRAM IS NOW?
"In the sense of where we are and how we are heading into this offseason, this is different. This is different than the last two years. The last two years, those were extraordinary things that you go through. This event of this season is different than that. It seems more familiar to the feelings that we had coming out of the Atlanta (playoff loss) year. Our guys are very hungry to get back at it. They realize how close we were and how we were spinning some wheels at times early last year to get right, and we got right. We feel how good a football team we were once again; we were able to connect with that. And so we have that going for us. Hopefully we can build on that with a great offseason, and all of the work that we have to do to keep this thing going."
HAVE ANY INTEREST IN THE USC AD JOB?
“I do not. Thank you.”