Seahawks coach Pete Carroll speaks at the combine

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spoke to the media at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday. We had a story by the Tacoma News Tribune’s Gregg Bell in Friday’s paper, but it doesn’t seem to have made it onto our website, so here’s a summary:

– The story led with Seattle’s running-back situation following the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. General manager John Schneider said the previous day that to job wasn’t just being handed to Thomas Rawls, who ran the ball exceptionally well while Lynch was injured, but then suffered a season-ending ankle injury of his own. However, Carroll put more faith in Rawls, saying, “Thomas is going to get a great shot at it.” Carroll also allayed any fears of Rawls, who’s recovering from a broken ankle and ligament damage, not being ready for next season, saying, “I just saw him two days ago. He’s in really good shape right now.”

– Carroll acknowledged the work the Seahawks have to do in free agency. Seattle has 17 players who are unrestricted free agents, including the likes of offensive linemen Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy, receiver Jermaine Kearse, linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin, and cornerback Jeremy Lane. However, the Seahawks don’t have much room to maneuver under the salary cap. According to the story, Seattle has just over $23 million to work with. The league also revealed the carryover dollar amounts teams had from unused cap space last season, and the Seahawks had by far the smallest amount in the league at $11,587. Only four teams carried over less than $1 million, and the other three all had $862,000 or more.

– One of the big questions of the offseason will be how the Seahawks handle the situation with defensive end Michael Bennett and strong safety Kam Chancellor. Both are unhappy with their contracts, which run through 2017. The Seahawks have a policy of not renegotiating contracts until there’s just one year left. Chancellor showed his displeasure last season by holding out all of training camp, preseason, and the first two games of the regular season. In contrast Bennett reported to camp, and although he grumbled about his contract, he also turned in his first Pro Bowl season, despite playing through a toe injury. Carroll said good things about Bennett — “I respect the heck out of him. He did a great job this season. … Mike did all the things he’s supposed to do.” — and the story suggested that the way Bennett went about his business may make the team more inclined to reward him with an improved contract.

– Carroll himself is only under contract through the 2016 season. There’s been suggestions that Carroll, who has ties to Los Angeles from his time coaching USC, may be courted by the Rams, who are moving back to L.A. Carroll deflected all questions about his contract status during the season, and he did the same Thursday, saying, “I’m doing great.”

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