Pete Carroll Talks Albert Haynesworth, Nearly Violates Tampering Rules

I don’t care much for the Trojans.

My allegiance to Washington football makes it impossible for me to root for good things to happen in Southern California. Because of my passion, I have spent most of the last decade rooting against Pete Carroll.

Now that he is the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, I think I have developed a soft spot for him. As a homer, I think my biases have gotten the best of me.

If he weren’t the head coach of my favorite football team, I have to believe I’d describe him as a loser, a cheater, or worse. But because he is, I find myself inclined to give him a break. The University of Southern California obviously violated NCAA rules, but I think I’ve convinced myself Pete Carroll shouldn’t be blamed for it.

Pete Carroll should take responsibility for what happened at Southern California, but there is no evidence out there suggesting he was aware of the violations as they occurred.

Mike Florio of, however, writes about Carroll with a harsher tone.

When the NCAA hammered Southern California with sanctions, Florio called for Carroll’s job:

As to Carroll, he should lose his current job. Of course, he won’t; Seattle Seahawks president Tod Leiweke hired Carroll at a time when Leiweke knew or with the exercise of due diligence should have known that Carroll presided over a program poised to be slapped silly by the NCAA. And if the Seahawks had no qualms about it then, they should have none now.

Florio has also poked fun at Carroll’s new book, Win Forever, declining complimentary copies and referring to the title as Cheat Forever.

Now comes Florio’s latest criticism, which is probably slightly more justified. In an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. earlier this week, Pete Carroll talked about disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. From the interview, it seems obvious Carroll and the Seahawks considered Haynesworth in Seattle:

I’m not gonna make a decision, declaration on something like that without knowing the player, hearing the situation, and gathering as much as you can.  Because you don’t ever really know the whole story until you dig in…  We were interested in the thought of him because he’s such a fantastic player, but if he wants to play the game.  That’s what you have to figure out.  Where’s the love of the game in all this?  And where does this all fit in?  Because if you’re getting a guy that’s, regardless of what you’re playing him at, if his heart isn’t in it 1000 percent, he wants to be great and part of a great team, then you need to get another guy.  It just depends, and I would look deep into it and we started the process because we thought maybe they weren’t gonna be able to come to a deal and they were gonna make him available, but it didn’t work out that way.

That statement drew immediate criticism from Florio:

In such situations, prudent NFL coaches say something like this:  “Haynesworth is under contract with the Redskins.  So, guys, I just can’t talk about him.”

Prudent NFL coaches take that approach because the league’s Anti-Tampering Policy contains the following language:    “Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation of this Anti-Tampering Policy. (Example of a prohibited comment: ‘He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.’)”

… While Carroll most likely won’t get into any trouble over this, the fact that he’d even take the risk shows that either he doesn’t know the rules, or he doesn’t care.

In other words, the guy who coached at USC, for better or worse, hasn’t really changed.

I’m curious what you think. Fair criticism, or unjust condemnation? Is Carroll really a cheater, and is history doomed to repeat itself in Seattle?

Either way, it is an interesting read into the Albert Haynesworth rumors.

Shaun Dolence: [email protected]
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Tags: Albert Haynesworth National Football League Pete Carroll Reggie Bush Seattle Seahawks Southern California Tampering Claim Trojans USC Washington Redskins Win Forever

  • Hanley

    Florio is just a bitter dude. He obviously has an axe to grind and while USC was clearly in violation of NCAA rules to expect a coach to know of all the family dealings of ALL his players is ridiculous and secondly, if for some reason Carroll knew and didn’t do anything he was just maintaining the status quo. The problem in the NCAA is that it makes it seem like there are only a few bad eggs. Most coaches at major programs are skirting the rules and just don’t get caught.

    And in regard to the Haynesworth column, Florio just needed another reason to bitch. There was nothing in the statement that sounded like Carroll was trying to lure Haynesworth away. If anything it was just an allegory to his coaching philosophy of “have fun, compete 110% and love the game.” He could have made the same comment about any other player. Florio needs to get a life.

  • Alan

    Really well put Hanley. Florio is big bitch and needs to find something more pressing to write about in this lull before the season.

  • Eric

    I put Mike Florio in the same category that I place K.C. Joyner: “Journalists” who take the most “controversial” stance just to make waves. Neither one has a shred of credibility anymore.

  • Hawkman

    Pete Carroll must think he looks good with his foot in his mouth. If it is a fact that a statement like, “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights” is a prohibited comment, then the statement, “and we started the process because we thought maybe they weren’t gonna be able to come to a deal and they were gonna make him available” is also clearly prohibited. Look for the NFL to come down on him for this.

    We don’t need Haynesworth. We need young, fast, hungry guys…not greedy, whiny, fat has-beens.

    And if Carroll keeps this up…we don’t need him.

    I don’t care what he did or didn’t do…or know…or whatever…at USC. I only care what he is going to do as the coach of the Seahawks. And if he is just going to run his mouth and get the Seahawks in trouble instead of bring us back to our once-proud dominance over the NFC West…then he can go. This is the NFL, fella. We don’t expect you to “win forever”; we just expect you to win right now!

    • Hanley

      There is a .00001% chance that the NFL will actually do anything about this. Florio called it tampering, but it isn’t.

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  • olympia lowlife

    Hawkman is Florio!!!

    • Hawkman

      I am a fan of the Seahawks…not of unproven NFL coaches with Tony Robbins-esque catch-phrases like “Win Forever.” And you are…?

      I have followed them since their inception into the league in 1976 with my other favorite team, the Bucs. So I know a thing or two about routing for lost causes. And frankly, I’m sick of it. We had our window of opportunity; the refs gave the game to the Steelers (because most Americans still think we are a CFL team, I guess); and now it looks like it will be many more years before we get back to the Promised Land.

      You DO realize all non-Seahawk NFL fans are laughing at us right now? Good job, front office!

      Does anyone remember Dennis Erickson and how he set us back? Why didn’t we wait a few minutes and then take Holmgren back with open arms?

  • Mike H

    I’ll reserve judgement for Carroll until they play some games. But I still don’t understand why Carroll is getting a “cheater” label. Even if he knew boosters were paying his players, at the most, this is a recruiting advantage. And say what you want about recruiting, but it may be that Reggie Bush became exceptional because he was coached up and had a bunch of competition at USC. If he had gone to say Washington State, my Cougs would still suck (see Harrison, Jerome). It’s no guarantee that any recruit will become something. I think something good has to happen from a coaching standpoint, or you end up with a guy with a lot of raw unfulfilled potential.

    But the games on the field still happened. USC still won a ton of games and played good ball. Presumably some of that was coaching. And it seems pretty hard to “cheat” at a football game unless you’re baking the balls or using PED’s or something. They all played by the same rules between the white lines.

    So I guess I’ll just wait and see how it goes, but I think “cheater” is an overblown and misrepresented claim and I can’t see why Florio or Mora or anyone else is using that term.

    • Hanley

      Amen. That’s a great analysis. Recruiting and amatuer-athletics rules might have been violated, but “cheating” during the game never took place. Great comment.

  • Jay Clark

    Reggie should lose his Heisman, Condoms(Trojans) should of probably forfeit the title for one of the years, it should stop there. No Carroll is not a cheater and I too cursed the evil Condoms as a Duck fan. Reggie violated an NCAA rule and if Carroll knew or didn’t know is not provable or relevant. And regardless they still one games and big games, do you mean to tell me Bush was the sole reason, the Condoms won as a team. Think of USC’s QB’s, LB’s that have had great success in the NFL Carroll will not make a huge difference, his coaching staff will. At least trust in Norton, Gibbs, Carlisle, and look at what Schneider helped build in Green Bay. Be Happy Hawks great thinks are coming to the Pacific Northwest !!!!!!