Seattle Seahawks defensive end Leonard Williams (99) jumps over Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) in the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Leonard Williams (99) jumps over Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) in the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

New coach Macdonald wants his Seahawks to forge own legacy

The pictures of iconic moments from the Pete Carroll era have been removed from Seattle’s training facility.

  • Gregg Bell, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Thursday, April 18, 2024 2:47pm
  • SportsSeahawks

RENTON — The wall-sized murals lined the hallway of team headquarters. They were outside the indoor practice field. Players, coaches, staff, any visitor — no one could miss them.

The photos were were constant reminders of the Seahawks’ greatest moments, by their greatest players, in their greatest era.

Richard Sherman’s “The Tip.”

Marshawn Lynch’s BeastQuake run.

Sherman returning an interception in Houston without one of his shoes on.

Golden Tate immediately after his “Fail Mary” touchdown.

Russell Wilson weeping in joy into the NFC championship trophy.

Kam Chancellor punching the ball out of a Detroit Lion’s arms at the goal line to save a game.

Earl Thomas doing the same thing against the Rams.

Bobby Wagner intercepting a Tom Brady pass.

And: Pete Carroll, John Schneider and Paul Allen raising the Super Bowl trophy on the field in the Meadowlands, the only NFL championship Seattle’s won.

Those pictures — and more, of K.J. Wright, Sidney Rice, Jermaine Kearse — now that Pete Carroll has been fired, now that 36-year-old Mike Macdonald is the Seahawks’ new coach?


Those walls inside the Virginia Mason Athletic Center are bare. White as snow.

Standing at one end of it, the hallway looks like a warehouse with no stock.

The only photo remaining in the hallway, on either side of it: A framed one of team chair Jody Allen. She is pictured smiling in a Seahawks 12 jersey while standing overlooking Lumen Field as she was raising the 12 flag before a home game a couple years ago.

Macdonald and his boss, general manager John Schneider, know who ultimately butters their bread.

One of the first things Macdonald did in January when the Seahawks hired him as the NFL’s youngest coach was have all those pictures except of Allen taken down.

The new head man’s message is clear: The slate is like those walls. Clean.

These aren’t Carroll’s Seahawks — or what they did — over the previous 14 years any more.

One week into his first meetings with players in their formal offseason training program, Macdonald is forging an entirely new identity for his players. It doesn’t involve daily, visual reminders inside their building of the franchise’s Super Bowl past.

The defensive coordinator of the NFL’s best defense with the Baltimore Ravens the last two years doesn’t want his Seahawks players living up to the weighty legacy from Carroll’s Super Bowl teams.

The new coach wants his Seahawks to create a new legacy. By and for themselves.

“I remember the first day we came into the team meeting, Mike pointed out there was empty walls in the hallways, and things like that,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams, the Seahawks’ prize re-signing this offseason, said Wednesday.

He was talking on the other side of those bare walls.

“We are obviously going to respect tradition and the history of the Seahawks,” Williams said.

“But I think it’s given us, like, a clean foundation to create whatever we want to be. We’re not chasing to be like any other team that’s been here before.”

That alone makes the 2024 Seahawks already different from those from 2010-23.

The “ALL IN!” signs that Carroll had over the doorways the players pass through from the team facility onto the outdoor and indoor practice fields are gone, too. So are the “Always Compete” signs, another of the 72-year-old Carroll’s motivational mantras.

“We want to create our own identity and mantras,” Williams said.

“I mean, it definitely feels different.

“Mike, he’s serious about being something different and creating our own identity.”

Players thumbs up on Macdonald

Ask any Seahawks player who played for the team last season about Macdonald, and they, to a man, have said they welcome and are enjoying their new coach. And the change.

Of course, at this point so early in the transition, 3 1/2 months before training camp and still five months before real games, nobody is going to say publicly they wish Carroll was still their coach. Not if they want to play for Macdonald.

Left tackle Charles Cross played his first two NFL seasons for Carroll. He, like everyone else on and around the team, was surprised Allen, vice chair Bert Kolde and the Seahawks fired their most successful coach and ultimate football decision maker for the last decade and a half.

Yet Cross said he doesn’t just like Macdonald.

“I love him,” Cross said Wednesday.

“He brings a tenacity to the building. He’s very blunt. He wants to get the job done.”

No one ever termed the affable, paternal, always-optimistic Carroll as “blunt.”

“He’s different. He’s different than Pete, what we’ve been around, what I’ve been around since I’ve been here,” cornerback Devon Witherspoon said.

“But it’s a nice, little change, though.”

Witherspoom, the fifth pick in last year’s NFL draft, made the Pro Bowl in his debut season. He was asked how Macdonald is different.

“Different as far as the way he runs things around here,” Witherspoon said. “The way he talks. Terminology when we are speaking about football. And just the way he teaches us.”

Witherspoon says Macdonald and his new defensive assistants haven’t told him yet if he’s again going to be the starting cornerback plus primary nickel defensive back inside on passing downs, as Carroll had him doing last season as a rookie.

“It’s been smooth so far,” Witherspoon said of the transition in coaches and staffs.

Leonard Williams: Seahawks have urgency

Williams arrived to the Seahawks last October, in a trade from the New York Giants.

It’s why Schneider and Seattle don’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft that starts April 25. New York has it.

Carroll called Williams “a special player” the day the Seahawks acquired him, Oct. 31.

“I was obviously really excited coming here playing for Pete,” Williams, who turns 30 in June, said Wednesday. “He’s a head coach that his type of energy, the mindset that he brought to the game was something that I wasn’t used to in my career.

“I will forever be grateful to Pete for bringing me here.”

Williams played the final eight games for Seattle last season. The Seahawks were in first place in the NFC West when he arrived. Then they lost four consecutive games. A home loss to Pittsburgh on New Year’s Eve basically ended Seattle’s playoff chances. The Seahawks missed the postseason for just the third time in 12 years.

“I thought we definitely had urgency when I first got here. We were leading our division,” Williams said. “But there was definitely a down slope of losing those games that we had in a row.”

Yet in March, Williams signed his three-year contract worth up to $64.5 million to avoid free agency and return to the Seahawks.

He was in Japan with his girlfriend after a vacation that started in Bali when Seattle gave his agent its final offer. They reached an agreement via international phone calls. Williams flew from Tokyo to Seattle, signed the contract at Seahawks headquarters, then six hours later flew back to Tokyo to finish his vacation.

It was well after Seattle fired Carroll, the coach he loved, and hired Macdonald.

So he literally signed up for this change.

And he’s all for it.

“I mean, it definitely feels different,” Williams said.

“You can just tell there’s a sense of urgency right now. In a way, that’s kind of bringing everyone together. That’s making everyone be so locked in.

“In meetings, in the weight room, on the field, it’s like, you can tell there’s a different sense. Everyone’s locked in on a different level.”

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