RENTON Let’s end this story before it even starts.
That was what Pete Carroll did on Tuesday to those trying to link him to the Rams’ coaching vacancy in Los Angeles.
On a conference call with reporters that cover the Rams in advance of Los Angeles coming to Seattle to play the Seahawks on Thursday night, Carroll said he had “no comment” on reports the Rams have him at the top of their wish list to replace fired Jeff Fisher as their new coach. Stories such as this one from Yahoo! Sports citing “multiple sources with insight into the earliest stages of the Rams coaching search,” for example.
That story came about not even 10 hours after the Rams fired Fisher Monday.
Asked Tuesday by the L.A. media if he would like to rule the possibility out entirely, Carroll laughed and said: “Yes.”
The link is natural and the innuendo unavoidable, of course. Carroll became a hero in Los Angeles for returning USC into a dynasty in the early 2000s. But he remains big in L.A. for what he did there outside of football, as I detailed before the Seahawks played at Los Angeles in mid-September.
“He’s a big deal,” said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who is from Compton just south of the Coliseum. “Not just because of what USC was doing — obviously, they were winning a lot while he was there. He did a lot of work in the community.”
Carroll didn’t just coach the Trojans. He coached the entire city of Los Angeles through his charitable foundation “A Better LA” and the work he did for it.
"Just his involvement in the area of the gangs and gang violence. I know there was a tremendous impact just in regards to his understanding," said Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
Richard played at USC from 1998-2001 then became a Trojans assistant for Carroll’s final two seasons at SC.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke is trying to make a splash with his new hire to stabilize the foundation before the team moves into its new, zillion-dollar stadium/palace south of downtown in a couple years. And no coach would make a bigger splash along the shores of Southern California than Carroll and his return to L.A.
But he signed a contract extension with the Seahawks before this season through 2019. It is believed to have him earning around $10 million per year, with Bill Belichick in New England as the league’s highest-paid coaches.
More important than the money, Carroll has the control he had at USC, control perhaps no other coach except maybe Belichick has in the NFL. That was the requirement he demanded in January 2010 before he agreed to leave the Trojans and move to Seattle, to return to the NFL after a decade away. It was authority he never thought he’d get in the NFL.
He moved the entire USC program -- key administrators, confidants and coaches, including Richard -- to Seattle.
Remember, Carroll, not general manager John Schneider, has the final say on personnel with the Seahawks. He has everything he wants in Seattle.
He’s 65. He told me in August 2014 he would be up for coaching the Seahawks for another decade, until he was at least 72.
“Yeah, I am. I don’t have any problem with the energy part of it,” he said then. “We’ll just see. Really, it’s just one lifetime at a time.
“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. The wonderful players that we have.
“It’s just too much fun.”