By John Boyle
Pete Carroll confirmed in his Monday press conference that defensive end Chris Clemons has a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee, which will leave the Seahawks without their top pass rusher for the remainder of the playoffs.
“He will have to have surgery, so we’ll miss him,” Carroll said. “It’s a big loss for us in a lot of ways. Chris has been a great football player, a symbol of consistency for the years we’ve had him, and he’s been a great leader for him too. … We’ll miss the heck out of him.”
Clemons’ absence means a starting role for rookie Bruce Irvin, and could also lead to more playing time for fellow rookie Greg Scruggs.
“That means Bruce will step up and take a bunch of those snaps and we’ll work Greg Scuggs in there and other guys as we put the plan together,” Carroll said. “But this is Bruce’s opportunity, it’s what we drafted him to play, and we’ll see how he does. We expect him to do really well as he steps up. … The logical thing is for Bruce to move up and take the lead spot, then we’ll fit in behind him.”
Carroll said the Seahawks also are looking into possible options in free agency, “We’re looking. (General manager) John (Schneider) is doing everything he can to figure out who’s available.”
Kicker Steven Hauschka has a calf strain, and while he felt better Monday than Sunday, his status is unclear, so the Seahawks will work out kickers Tuesday in case Hauschka is unable to play.
Injuries suffered by Clemons, Hauschka and Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III cast a spotlight on the pretty awful playing surface at FedEx Field, and while Carroll made no secret of the fact that he didn’t like the field, he stopped short of blaming it for Clemons’ knee injury.
“I don’t know that,” Carroll said. “As he planted, there was a push on him by the offensive lineman that kind of hit simultaneous to when his foot planting and he got it caught. I don’t know that. The field was not great a turf to play on, there was a lot of loose footing out there, but I don’t know, I can’t tell you that.”
Carroll said he wouldn’t mind seeing the league do more in the future to make sure playing surfaces are more consistent and safer.
“I think it should be as close to standard as possible, although it is cool that different stadiums have their own uniqueness about it,” he said. “But there’s a point where it makes sense that it should be somewhat standardized so that it’s equal for everyone, and obviously safety is at the top of everyone’s mind in the league, so if there are ever issues, which I don’t know if that has anything to do with that, but I’m sure the league would want to take part in that.”
And on an unrelated note, Carroll confirmed that teams have contacted the Seahawks expressing interest in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Bradley will interview with Philadelphia for its vacant head-coaching job, the Eagles announced last week, and Bevell is a candidate in Chicago according to multiple reports.
Carroll said any interviews this week would take place here and not be a distraction.
“We have a huge agenda to take care of, and they’re into it,” he said.