RENTON — Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks started organized team activities on Monday with very little talk about anything that took place on the field.
That was understandable considering the recent news about suspensions and arrests.
“It’s a very important opportunity for us to go ahead and figure it out and to help these guys so they can get what they deserve,” Carroll said. “Unfortunately you go wrong you get popped and that’s how this thing works. I’m really disappointed we have to deal with anything like this but there is going to be other issues to and we’re going to have to deal with them.”
Carroll gave a lengthy opening statement after Seattle’s first OTA workout, addressing head on the recent off-field problems that have put some of his players in the headlines.
The bad news for Seattle started last Friday when defensive end Bruce Irvin was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season after testing positive for performance enhancing substances. That was followed by news Monday morning that backup quarterback Josh Portis was arrested on investigation of driving under the influence on May 5 and faces a court arraignment next week.
Seattle’s already finding itself under increased scrutiny because of last season’s success and offseason moves that have left the Seahawks a popular choice to contend for a spot in the Super Bowl. That is the kind of attention Carroll wants for his team, and not what came Monday.
“We’ve got to make the right decision as players. It’s up to us to make the right decision at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what the coaches says positively, negatively, whatever, we have to make the decision as players,” Seattle QB Russell Wilson said. “We’ll definitely do that. I think one thing is we have to continue to be leaders in the locker room and let everyone know that’s unacceptable. It’s one of those things we’ll move on but we’ll still support the guys, whoever is in trouble or whatever, but the next guy has to step up and that’s always the case.”
Irvin became the fifth Seattle player to be suspended for using banned substances since 2011, a troubling trend. Six have tested positive, with only cornerback Richard Sherman having his suspension overturned on appeal last December. John Moffitt, Allen Barbre, Winston Guy, Brandon Browner and Irvin have received four-game suspensions. Barbre was later released by the team, while the other four are still on Seattle’s roster.
Carroll said the Seahawks go beyond the league requirements for educating players, but he said they will continue to re-evaluate what needs to be done.
“Continually because it’s not right yet. We all know that there are big issues. It’s not just here it’s not just in sports. It’s in schools. It’s everywhere,” he said. “We have to try and figure it out and help through education and all of the ways that we can and we’ll always compete to try and find more creative ways to make the message clear.”
Irvin will be eligible to participate in all offseason activities and preseason practices and games, but will be suspended without pay for the opening four games at Carolina, home for San Francisco and Jacksonville and at Houston. Irvin will be eligible to return to Seattle’s active roster on Sept. 30 following the Seahawks’ Week 4 game against the Texans.
Both Irvin and Portis were on the field Monday.
“For Bruce we’re going to try and help him along as best as we possibly can. He’s made an enormous commitment to try and do the right thing and try to be right and he made a mistake. And he admitted it,” Carroll said. “He owned up to it to his teammates and he owned up to it to the staff and he owns up to it to everybody. He wants to do right and show that he can and we’re going to see that through and see if we can’t get that done for him.”
According to a report from the Washington State Patrol, Portis was arrested on May 5 after he was pulled over for driving 80 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 90. The arresting officer wrote he noticed “a strong odor of intoxicants” coming from the vehicle and that Portis performed poorly in field sobriety tests. Portis later gave a breath test that registered .092 and .078. The legal limit in Washington state is .08.
Portis is in his second stint with the Seahawks. He was re-signed by Seattle in early April after they traded Matt Flynn to Oakland. He is expected to compete with Jerrod Johnson and Brady Quinn for one of the backup quarterback spots on Seattle’s roster.
Notes: New DE Cliff Avril did not participate on Monday after suffering a plantar fascia injury in his foot about four weeks ago. Carroll said Avril is doing well in his recovery and is expected to start running later this week. … RB Marshawn Lynch was not present Monday, the only non-injured Seahawks player not taking part. Asked about Lynch’s absence, Carroll noted the workouts were voluntary. … TE Anthony McCoy left the workout with an ankle injury. Carroll did not know the severity.