Following Seattle’s first OTA of the season Monday afternoon, Seahawk coach Pete Carroll met the media for the first time since it was revealed that DE Bruce Irvin would be suspended for the first four games of next season for using performance enhancing drugs, and that backup QB Josh Portis had recently been arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Carroll addressed the issues head-on in a rather impassioned opening statement that ran almost five minutes, saying that dealing with such matters is “a challenge for us,” and that it is also important to let the public know that “it’s serious, it’s real serious and we need to let you know that we understand that.”
Here is a transcript of the highlights, as well as some video below:
“As these stages come along at OTAs, it gets us closer to football and it brings to light how difficult it is to do what we do and to do it really well and the challenges that go along with it. This is an exciting young football team and these guys are at a point where they have worked really hard to grow together and establish the kind of makeup on the team that gives you a chance to do good things, and coming off of last year all that is part of what’s going on.
“But with that also comes the responsibility to handle it well and over the years I have seen what it takes to be consistently on top and to be on top and to stay on top and to keep winning and endure all that goes along with that. It takes a giant commitment and guys have to really be in it for the right reasons to do things right, and so a couple of things came up today in the media that gets out about our guys, some issues that we have had — this is a challenge, this is a challenge for us, this is a challenge for the league.
“The league is doing everything they can to try to figure out how to help guys make it through these young careers that they have from teaching and instructing and also the punitive side of it, and they are doing a really good job. And they are in it for the right seasons, and we are too. We go beyond what the league does. We go well past what the guidelines ask us to do as far as working with the young guys and trying to give them the direction, trying to give them the counseling. We have people on staff here specifically to work with our individual guys, because I really see this as an individual challenge.
“We try to bring each kid as far along as we possibly can to make them available for the opportunity that they have, and each one of them is a different story. Each one of them, it’s a different road that we travel. Even though we go together they all have to figure out how to do this right. And so I see this as a challenge for us to be at the cutting edge of why guys make choices, and why guys will jeopardize their opportunities. The league understands that, we understand it. We have been working for years and years with young people and we continue to still face issues that we want to try to deal with in a different way.
“So it’s a very, very important opportunity for us in a sense to try and figure it out and to help these guys so they can get what they deserve. Unfortunately you go wrong and you get popped and that’s how this thing works and I’m really disappointed that we have to deal with anything like this. But there are going to be other issues, too, and we are going to have to deal with them.
“With Bruce we are going to try to help him along as best we possibly can. He has made an enormous commitment to try to do the right thing and he made a mistake. He admitted to it and he owned up to it to his teammates and he owned up to the staff and he owned up to it to everybody. He wants to do right and show that he can. We are going to see that through and see if we can’t get that done for him.
“It’s no different than I would do for my own son. I would do everything I can to teach him, to prepare him, to let them understand what the pitfalls are and then you hope and you pray that your kids make the right decision when they are faced with options. And then when they make a mistake you take them back under and you try to lead them along and show them and hope that they can learn from the issues that they have had to face and we get stronger and we get better for it. We’ve got a lot of challenges coming up.
“It ain’t easy. But we will find out where our commitment is and how close we can stay and how directed we can be to taking this as far as we can and that’s really my challenge every day and I expect that we are going to have to encounter more stuff and we’ll see if we can do it really well as we move forward. That’s a big statement and whether you get the whole point of it, I don’t know. But it’s serious, it’s real serious and we need to let you know that we understand that.’’