RENTON — Pete Carroll wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to resurrect his fallen Seahawks with competition everywhere — from anybody.
And he keeps bringing in familiar faces to do the pushing.
Seattle’s new coach added sizzle to Saturday’s final day of the NFL draft. He acquired LenDale White, his former rushing star at Southern California who lost his job to record-setting runner Chris Johnson in Tennessee, from the Titans for draft picks.
Two hours later he traded with the New York Jets for 2008 All-Pro kick returner and recuperating running back Leon Washington, also for draft picks.
No, there’s no such thing as too much competition for Carroll’s rebuilding plan in Seattle.
“Too much competition?” Carroll said with a puzzled look. “No. No, this is good. It’s the central theme in this program: to compete and battle.”
He said his two runners were “just a great one-two punch to add to our team.”
True to Carroll’s approach of come one, come all while massing all this competition, most of Seattle’s moves Saturday have issues attached.
He drafted, among others:
—Walter Thurmond, a former All-American candidate at cornerback for Oregon until he tore three ligaments in September.
—Kam Chancellor, a former quarterback at Virginia Tech turned big-hitting safety — the second safety not named Taylor Mays drafted this weekend by the former USC coach.
—Arizona State defensive end Dexter Davis, who impressed Carroll in the Pac-10 by blowing past touted USC tackle Charles Brown.
—Tight end Anthony McCoy, another Trojan — one who tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
Carroll and new general manager John Schneider capped the day by introducing Thursday’s two prized first-round picks: Russell Okung, the replacement for retiring, six-time All-Pro Walter Jones at left tackle; and Texas All-American safety and ball hawk Earl Thomas.
“Can we get something done in here?” Carroll joked inside team headquarters while popping his head out during a rare 15-minute lull in an otherwise frenzied morning.
The jolt was welcomed in Seattle, which has lost 23 of 32 games since its last playoff appearance at the end of the 2008 season.
“We needed to add firepower to this football team,” Carroll said. “At least we affected it.”
The Seahawks got the faded White, who won two national championships with Carroll at USC and set a Trojans record with 52 touchdowns rushing, plus 6-foot-5, 305-pound defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, and two draft picks from the Titans later in rounds four and six in exchange for one of Seattle’s fourth-round draft choices and one in the sixth round.
Carroll said when he talked to White Saturday he was “thrilled” with his second NFL chance.
“I can’t WAIT!!!!” White posted on his Twitter page.
The Titans used the 45th pick overall in 2006 to draft White, when questions over his weight dropped him from a possible top 10 pick into the second round. He had his best season in 2007, starting all 16 games and running for 1,110 yards with seven touchdowns.
But Tennessee drafted Johnson at No. 24 overall in 2008, and White was in job-share mode. Before last season, White lost 30 pounds and reported to camp at 228 pounds, the weight Carroll says White was when he excelled at USC.
White said his weight loss plan came from cutting out most alcohol like tequila.
But while Johnson soared to become the sixth NFL back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, White became an afterthought with a career-low 222 yards rushing and problems showing up to work on time in Tennessee.
“As far as LenDale falling out of favor, he practiced. He was prepared to play,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “I can’t blame him for wanting to play more.
“Considering the circumstances, he handled things. There were issues I don’t need to bring up. I thought he handled things reasonably well.”
The Seahawks made it clear they see this as the 25-year-old White’s last NFL chance.
“He knows he’s at a point in his career where he’s got to take a step forward or it’s not going to happen for him,” Schneider said. “And we think it’s going to happen for him.”
Carroll said White told him he’s in shape.
“We’ll see,” the coach said with wry smile, knowing White is due at a minicamp on Friday.
Last week, he signed his former Trojans star Mike Williams plus fellow former first-round pick Reggie Williams to make his wide receiving corps bigger — even though Mike had been out of the league for one year and Reggie had been idled for two.
He and Schneider also traded recently with San Diego, then gave a new, $8 million contract to Charlie Whitehurst, so the former Chargers backup can compete with three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
“Matt’s our guy and Charlie’s going after him,” Carroll said. “That’s the way we wanted it.”
As for running back, veteran Julius Jones led Seattle last season with just 663 yards rushing. By the end of the year, 2008 seventh-round pick Justin Forsett had supplanted Jones as the preferred runner.
Washington, who has a rod in his right leg because of a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula suffered in a game at Oakland last October, came into the league with White in 2006.
“Honestly, I was stoked,” Washington said by telephone from New York when asked for his reaction of the trade.
He said he’s been running for three weeks and thinks he’ll be ready for training camp in late July. He called Seattle “a great opportunity.”
When healthy, Washington has been one of the league’s more dynamic players, as a kick returner and running back.
No wonder Carroll sounded thrilled about this first big shot to start his second NFL life.
“We’re about as excited as we could have hoped to have been,” Carroll said. “I think it sent a message to our team that we are willing to work every avenue to get our football team in the right order.”