Remember when everyone still liked Ruskell? (hey, stop throwing things at me already!)
John Carlson was a TR pick, and at the end of his first season, it looked like he was going to be a pro bowl type player provided he keeps developing beyond that great rookie season of 55 catches for 627 yards and 5 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Carlson and the Seahawks, that would be his best season to date.
I really liked this guy. Everyone seemed to. What wasn’t to like? Carlson was a hardworking kid from Notre Dame who seemed to say all the right things. He was a bright spot on an otherwise drab team coached by Mike Holmgren during his last year in Seattle.
Carlson’s second season with the Hawks was filled with promise and optimism. He was a sleeper in everyone’s Fantasy Football league and a fan favorite after a single season. His jersey riddled the stadium, and he was one of the loudest cheers during player introductions despite the fact that he simply ran out of the tunnel with little to no theatrics.
Despite his new found popularity, Carlson remained humble and kept his personality intact. Unfortunately his statistics remained the same too. Carlson actually caught less passes this season despite the fact that he started all 16 games (He only started 9 the previous season). Carlson ended the season with 51 receptions (4 less), 574 yards (53 less), and 7 tds (2 more).
It’s hard to really blame Carlson at this point. This, in my opinion, was the darkest year in Seahawks history. It was the year that the Jim Mora/Tim Ruskell era finally came crashing down like the old Kingdome. Carlson was a victim of poor offensive game planning and one of Hasselbeck’s worst seasons ever.
Carlson’s 3rd season was going to be it for me. I was assuming the same learning curve that wide receivers go through would apply to Carlson, and he would become a phenomenon. Instead, Carlson “Debbie Downer’ed” all of us (wah-wahhh!) by collecting a measly 31 receptions, 318 yards, and 1 td. If you think I am being too hard on the guy, consider this: Had Carlson caught 7 more passes in his rookie season, he would have doubled all of his third year numbers. That isn’t a step backwards. It’s a journey in the wrong direction.
Enter Zach Miller.
Were you as surprised as I was when this happened? I would not have guessed it in a million years, but the Hawks landed a proven, pro-bowl tight end in Miller. This was a surprise bonus along with Gallery the Hawks got when they brought in Tom Cable. It also sent a clear message to John Carlson that this franchise needed more than expectations in the final year of his contract.
Many had written Carlson off the minute that Miller came in. Miller looked like the future and Carlson began to look more and more like a Ruskell pick: a really great kid with enough ability to play in the NFL, but not worthy of the 38th pick overall.
I was not one of those fans.
I thought that this was actually going to be a really good year for John Carlson.
Zach Miller would command more attention giving Carlson far better matchups than in previous seasons.
Carlson was also playing in a contract year. I know that some of you still believe that every player gives 100% all the time regardless of the previous point. For that minority, I have 2 words: Shaun Alexander.
The last and most important reason is that Carlson isn’t the type of player to “call it in.” Say what you want about his statistics (covered that), but his motive and drive have been consistent, even though, his offense has been anything but that. 3 coaches in 3 years. I don’t believe he has ever been put in a situation where his strengths could be accurately measured with all the chaos around him. This would have been his first season to have the same coach from the previous year.
Unfortunately for Carlson and Hawks fans, the truth of this season will never be known. During Training camp Carlson suffered a torn labrum and was placed on injured reserve thus ending his season and most likely his career with the Seahawks.
I really wish the franchise could have lit the fuse on Carlson. I expect him to find another team next year. Often when players leave, I find myself taking it personal as many die-hard fans do. I remember when Hutchinson’s agent created the poison pill clause. From that day forward, Hutch was dead to me despite 2005.
Carlson is different. I am hoping to see him stick next year and find success with another team. Could he still sign with the Hawks? I guess so, but I would say we’re looking at “Dumb and Dumber” odds (“so you’re saying there’s a chance?”).
It looks as though Carlson has played his final game as a Hawk, and I would like to be one of the many fans that thank him for the last three years and wish him a fond farewell as he begins the long road back to a career still riddled with unfulfilled expectations.
It’s really too bad. I think Carlson would have thrived given the same opportunity that Jeremy Stephens had, and it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see him do it… at least in a Seahawks uniform.
Good Luck John Carlson.