By Chris Cluff
Another week, another reunion or two.
This time it’s the New York Jets — the first NFL team Pete Carroll coached, the team that gave the Seahawks Leon Washington and the team quarterbacked by one of Carroll’s former USC QBs.
Carroll spent five years in New York, as the defensive coordinator from 1990 to 1993 under Bruce Coslet and as Coslet’s successor for just one year in 1994. A five-game losing streak to end that season gave him a 6-10 record and resulted in his dismissal after one year.
He was 43 then and has learned a lot since after two years as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, three years as coach of the New England Patriots, nine years at USC and two and a half with the Seahawks.
“I was very fortunate to have that opportunity at that time,” Carroll told reporters. “Being so young in the league and all that, and in New York, it’s an awesome place to be involved with professional sports because of the fans, the background and the history and all of that. It was a great honor, but it just didn’t work out right. I wasn’t ready enough for that situation. … It’s just a million miles away. I’m the same person, I’m just way better prepared now.”
The closer associations are those of Washington and Carroll with Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The Seahawks acquired Washington from the Jets during the 2010 draft and received immediate dividends from the move. The Jets didn’t think Washington could come back from a broken leg suffered in 2009, so they dumped him for peanuts and drafted Joe McKnight. Interestingly, McKnight and Washington rank 5-6 in NFL kickoff returns this season.
Washington told King-5 TV this is just another game with no added significance despite the four years he spent in New York.
Meanwhile, Carroll will be reunited for a day with Sanchez, the beleaguered fourth-year Jets QB who started 16 games for Carroll at USC in 2007 and 2008. When Sanchez declared for the NFL draft after his junior season, Carroll said he didn’t think Sanchez was ready. From the looks of it, he still isn’t. He has never completed more than 57 percent of his passes and is converting a career-low 52.9 percent this season.
But Carroll has since been more impressed by the fact that the Jets reached the AFC title game in Sanchez’s first two seasons.
“Because he didn’t do what I thought he should do didn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing,’’ Carroll told New York reporters. “He went out and proved that he was ready. To go out and make it to the playoffs and then do it the next year was a tremendous demonstration of a guy’s belief in himself.”
When Carroll went to Seattle the year after Sanchez left, Sanchez made sure to take a jab back at Carroll by saying he didn’t think he was ready for the NFL.
“It’s going to be cool,” Carroll said. “The people I love the most, I like to beat the most. The bad thing is former USC guys always play well against us. I don’t know if they’re getting back at me or what.”
- As expected, the Seahawks activated cornerback Walter Thurmond from the PUP. They also signed receiver Charly Martin to the practice squad. He had been released Tuesday.
- Defensive tackle Jason Jones (ankle) and receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) are expected to play against the Jets. Jones, who has missed the last two games, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, while Edwards was one of seven players not to practice.
- Offensive guard James Carpenter and linebacker K.J. Wright still have not been cleared to return from concussions.
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Chris Cluff worked as a sports editor and writer for The Seattle Times for 11 years and has written two books on the Seattle Seahawks. Since leaving the Times, he has written about the Seahawks and Seattle sports for Bleacher Report and the blog he shares with a fellow sportswriter, outsidethepressbox.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.