Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll throws during warm ups prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Carroll doesn't need to defend USC anymore

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Pete Carroll is a Super Bowl champion.

Not just any Super Bowl champion, but the first head coach to say he hoisted the Lombardi as a member of the Seahawks.

This chapter of his life is one he has written while moving on from the previously controversial chapters of his life at USC.

And yet, now four and a half years since leaving Southern California, Carroll is still defending his former collegiate team, mopping up a mess that doesn’t seem to be getting a cleaner.

On Saturday, Carroll said he wouldn’t have left USC if he knew the sanctions against the program were going to hit the school the way they did.

He wouldn’t have left to come back to the NFL. He wouldn’t have led the Seahawks to a 38-26 record, or three division titles, or a Super Bowl title.

Carroll obviously still has a passionate love for his former program, and why wouldn’t he?

He led the team to an unearthly 97-19 record while leading the Trojans to AP national titles in 2003 and 2004.

No one can just erase those years from memory.

At the time, it seemed like no one could dethrone the mighty Trojans, and they were the powerhouse team people loved to hate — sort of like Carroll’s current Seahawks.

After Carroll took over in Seattle, the team turned into a monster in the NFC West and that monster isn’t dying, it’s growing rapidly.

And who wouldn’t want to be at the head of that monster?

“The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t turn away from,” Carroll told The Los Angeles Times.

Of course he couldn’t. Would you hang up the phone if an NFL team asked you to resurrect your career in their city? With an up-and-coming roster and one of the best front offices in the league?

Carroll said he felt the NCAA “overreacted” and that he “never thought there were any facts that supported significant sanctions.”

Well, if he felt that way, it would make sense to move to the next level.

Carroll had always coached well at the collegiate level but his poor try at the NFL in the ’90s would leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth.

Of course he was going to leave USC at some point to come back to the league he most wanted to coach in.

Whether or not he knew about the sanctions before he left will never be officially decided but what should be decided is this: Carroll doesn’t need to defend USC anymore.

What’s done is done.

The sanctions have nearly all but been lifted and what is a dark spot on a great program’s history, is now dirt under the rug, or at least it should be to Carroll.

His career has been revitalized in Seattle and everyone, including Pete Carroll now needs to simply move on.

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