INDIANAPOLIS Now we apparently know why Pete Carroll has been coy answering my questions about a contract extension with the Seahawks.
Ian Rapoport of the league-owned NFL Network is reporting the team and its coach are indeed working on that extension about which I asked Carroll on Thursday at the scouting combine here.
Carroll, 64, is entering the final year of his deal with the Seahawks. He is believed to be earning about $8 million annually, joining New England’s Bill Belichick and New Orleans’ Sean Payton as the league’s highest-paid coaches.
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As I mentioned on 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle and KPUG in Bellingham earlier Friday, I expect the Seahawks’ next major announcement to be a contract extension for the only Super Bowl-winning coach they’ve ever had.
When Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times and I talked with Carroll in a concourse of Lucas Oil Stadium well off the stage from which he spoke more formally on Thursday, I asked the coach if he wanted to get an extension done this offseason. That would be to avoid him coaching a lame-duck, final season of his deal in 2016.
“I’m doin’ great,” Carroll said, with a grin. “I’m doin’ great.”
That’s the same thing he said when he was asked that question at team headquarters in Renton during press conferences last month. And Wednesday Seahawks general manager John Schneider said “I think Pete would tell you he’s in great shape and we’re happy to be working together.”
So, yes, the coach, GM and organization are in synch.
Of course Carroll isn’t going to publicly push for a new deal. That would exactly be savvy PR towards his boss, Seahawks owner Paul Allen. And to be sure, Allen is making the call of how long to extend Carroll, who arrived with general manager John Schneider in 2010 and received carte-blanche authority over the franchise’s entire football operation.
The Seahawks have reasons beside not leaving Carroll hanging for getting an extension done now. The NFL has returned to Los Angeles for the first time in 21 years -- since six years before Carroll began coaching a dynasty at USC. In 2003 Carroll began his foundation “A Better LA” to helped those living in inner-city Los Angeles. That effort is still thriving there, and Carroll’s roots in Southern California remain deep.
The Rams will begin play there this fall. The Chargers have an option to join them in Los Angeles after the 2016 season.
Carroll told me on the eve of the 2014 season he’d like to coach the Seahawks for another 10 years, which would put him at 72 years of age.
“I love this team so much, and I love this formula, the support that we have and the way Paul has structured it for John and me,” Carroll said then. “The wonderful players that we have.
“It’s just too much fun.”
His fun in Seattle is about to get extended beyond 2016.