Video: Did Saban’s Draft Disbelief Reach Carroll?

One of the surprises of the NFL Draft’s first round Thursday night was the Seahawks selecting Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter with its 25th overall selection.

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the pick, the NFL Network splashed the candid - and disbelieving - reax of Alabama coach Nick Saban to Seattle’s choice. As Goodell revealed the pick, a clearly flummoxed Saban mouthed James Carpenter’s name and later shook his head slightly. (Not that the coach was complaining.)

A few minutes after the Carpenter selection, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll punctuated his explanation of the Carpenter choice to reporter Doug Farrar:

“Whether somebody else saw it that way, we don’t care.”

Carroll wasn’t asked about Saban’s reaction and his unsolicited remark most likely was unrelated to the Alabama coach.

But it is worth noting that Carroll would say that without any obvious prompting from reporters.

In subsequent comments to the media, Saban was highly complimentary of Carpenter and the Seahawks, though also noting of the selection to Colin Cowherd of ESPN radio:

“I know it caught the media by surprise.”

Wait, so the almost completely player agent-driven, abject guesswork that is ESPN-manufactured NFL Draft ‘analysis’ completely whiffed on a draft selection?

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Video of Lendale White on Pete Carroll: “F— Him” has video of an obviously inebriated LenDale White as he left Voyeur nightclub in Hollywood last weekend.

LenDale White Pete Carroll

White, who was with former USC teammate Dominique Byrd (off-camera), apparently hasn’t gotten over being cut by his former college coach Pete Carroll when White was briefly with the Seattle Seahawks last season. After a somewhat unintelligible question by the TMZ cameraman, White said: Read more…

Why Was Kiper Only Guy On Balmer Bandwagon?

Current Seahawks defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer is a former first round pick (29th overall) taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2008 NFL Draft. During his first two seasons with the Niners, Balmer not only didn’t record a single sack, but failed to start a game.

Mel Kiper John Blake Kentwan Balmer

(Balmer in two NFL years: No sacks, no starts)

He also failed to show up for training camp this season, forcing the 49ers to trade him to the Seattle Seahawks in August for a sixth-round pick in order to realize any value for what might’ve been the worst first round pick of the 2008 draft.

Yesterday George Dohrmann of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED had the sordid, first-person story of Josh Luchs, a former longtime NFL agent who admitted to Dohrmann that he paid current college players while recruiting them as clients.

In his commentary to Dohrmann about his unsavory deeds, Luchs cited NFL Agent Gary Wichard as having what some might consider undue influence over ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper as it pertained to the agent’s clients:

Gary also used his contacts in the media to help him recruit. In 2000, before a meeting with Stanford defensive lineman Willie Howard, Gary arranged for ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper to call. Gary and I were talking to Willie in Gary’s office when Gary’s phone rang, and he put it on speakerphone.

“Viper, how are you?” Gary said. That’s what he called Mel, Viper or Vipe. “Viper, I’m sitting here with the best defensive lineman in college football. Do you know who that is?”

“You must be with Willie Howard,” Mel said.

Gary used Mel like that all the time. In the agent business, people know Gary and Mel are close, and some people suspect that Mel ranks players more favorably if they are Gary’s clients.

Kiper has sinced denied showing Wichard clients any favoritism in his NFL Draft analysis over the years.

With that in mind, I thought I’d examine Kiper’s treatment of current Wichard client Balmer, who has been in the news recently not only because of his trade to Seattle, but thanks to alleged impropriety of his former position coach at North Carolina, John Blake.

Former UNC Assistant Blake was recently accused of being a “runner” for Wichard by recruiting current college players for the L.A.-area based NFL agent. Despite having resigned as a coach for the Tarheels, Blake’s bio remains on the official North Carolina football website.

Here’s an excerpt from that bio:

In three seasons at UNC, Blake has sent five defensive linemen to the NFL, including 2008 first-round draft pick Kentwan Balmer. Blake earned rave reviews from NFL Draft analysts for his ability to develop Balmer into a first-round selection in just one year of coaching.

“Kentwan had a great senior year under the tutelage of John Blake, who I think is one of the best defensive line coaches at any level,” said ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Before the Niners took former UNC Tarheel Balmer in the 2008 NFL Draft, Tom Margeneau of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN wrote of Blake in a “Cheers and Jeers” column:

Cheers: To John Blake, who is drawing rave reviews from NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. for Blake’s work with defensive linemen, first Nebraska’s Adam Carriker, who went 13th overall to the Rams in the 2007 draft, and now North Carolina’s Kentwan Balmer, who has shot into first-round projections.

If you pore over Kiper’s mock drafts leading up to the NFL Draft in 2008, he ranked Balmer’s draft status well above where Balmer was projected by many other distinguished draft experts - including Mike Mayock of NFL Network, Todd McShay of ESPN and Scouts, Inc., Rick Gosselin of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS and Don Banks of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

Before the 2008 Senior Bowl and NFL combine, in his Jan. 22, 2008, mock draft, Kiper projected Balmer as a tenth overall selection going to the New Orleans Saints. On Feb. 20, the first day of the 2008 combine, Balmer was Kiper’s 12th selection in his first round projections. Read more…

NFLer: Videogame Addiction Cost Year Of Career

Greg Johns of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER reports on the plight of new Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock.

Two years ago Pitcock was entering his second year in the league as a member of the Indianapolis Colts when - out of nowhere - he quit football.

Something wasn’t right. Something was missing. And a day later, that something missing was Pitcock himself, who went underground after never showing up at Colts’ camp.“I’m introverted. I cast myself away from everybody and became almost a hermit,” Pitcock said Thursday after his first practice with the Seahawks, who are giving him a chance at a comeback. “I was a hermit for a year. No one knew where I was at. I just sat in my apartment and did nothing.”

Actually, that isn’t a totally accurate description. Pitcock became addicted to video games. Read more…

Carroll: ‘Surprised’ If USC Sanctioned By NCAA

Pete Carroll appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show today and addressed the NCAA investigation into the USC football program and his reaction to former USC linebacker Brian Cushing testing positive for a banned substance in an NFL drug test last September.

Brian Cushing Pete Caroll Reggie Bush

Carroll on Cushing testing positive: “Disappointed. … I don’t know anything about it.

Carroll on if Cushing ever tested positive for anything at USC: “We can’t talk about stuff like that. I would never say that anyone ever did.

In a statement on USC’s official website last year, Carroll denied that Cushing had ever tested positive for steroids:

“These rumors are absolutely false. If they were found positive, Clay and Cush would have been notified three weeks ago, which they weren’t and all of the NFL teams would have been notified too, which they weren’t.

“They’re both men of outstanding character and they never tested positive for anything here. This is an [sic] major example of irresponsible reporting, and the site that published this report should be ashamed of themselves.”

Carroll’s also provided thoughts on the nature and outcome of the four-year NCAA investigation into his USC football program. Read more…

LA Daily News: Pete Carroll Resigns As USC Coach

Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS, who Friday was the first to report that Pete Carroll had accepted the head coaching job with the Seahawks, is first with the news Sunday that Carroll has resigned his position as USC coach. follows up by reporting that Carroll handed in his resignation tonight.

LA Daily News breaks that Pete Carroll has resigned


Two USC administration sources told me today that Carroll actually resigned last night over concerns that a delay in finalizing his new job in Seattle was wrecking USC’s recruiting class. (Which it was.)

So now what is USC looking at? Don’t ask.
Read more…

Report: Carroll Has ‘Accepted’ Seahawks Position

UPDATE: Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS reports:

Pete Carroll did not officially inform USC he was leaving as of Friday afternoon but sources within the university said he accepted a job with the Seattle Seahawks and only needed to agree to final contract details.

Pete Carroll

USC sources said Carroll agreed to a five-year deal with the Seahawks with the only question how much power he would have in the organization. The Seahawks lack a coach and general manager and Carroll’s often expressed a hope to do both when he returned to the NFL.

Not a good sign Pete Carroll is staying at USC when the head PR guy for the Trojans football team, Tim Tessalone, tells the LOS ANGELES TIMES that, “I’ve put a message out to him (Carroll), but haven’t heard back yet. At this point, we have nothing to report. Perhaps check with the Seahawks.

Sam Farmer and Gary Klein of the Times report:

The Seahawks and Carroll are close to a deal, which is believed to be a five-year contract to become president and head coach at $7 million a year, nothing has been signed, said sources close to the situation who are not authorized to speak on his behalf.

I’ve subsequently learned myself that Leslie Frazier will not be interviewing with the Seahawks on Saturday, as was reported earlier today by ESPN.

Read more…

USC Reportedly Interested In Mike Riley As Coach

UPDATE (6:24p ET): I’ve been told by a USC admin source that the school is primarily interested in Riley, Jack Del Rio and Jeff Fisher. I haven’t confirmed if the interest is mutual.

ESPN’s Bruce Feldman reports this afternoon that prominent representatives of USC are attempting to contact Mike Riley to gauge his interest in the Trojans football coaching job. Feldman also Tweeted:

Mike Riley

IF Pete Carroll leaves USC, look the Trojans to make a run at #Oregon St coach Mike Riley. Fast. Trojan brass loves him, I’m told.

Sam Farmer of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports today that current USC Coach Pete Carroll interviewed with the Seattle Seahawks about their coaching position last week.


A Seahawks contingent including CEO Tod Leiweke interviewed Carroll in Los Angeles earlier this week to gauge his interest in replacing Mora.

Chris Mortensen added on ESPN this afternoon that he would be “surprised if Pete Carroll isn’t the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.” Mortensen also said a deal could be in place as soon as early next week.

So what’s the feeling around here in Los Angeles about Carroll you ask?

Read more…

ESPN: Carroll To Seahawks “Expected To Happen”

The Seattle Seahawks today fired head coach Jim Mora, Jr., and Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that it is highly likely that USC coach Pete Carroll will take the vacated position:

Mike Garrett and Pete Carroll

(Thanks Mike!)

“Pete Carroll is the guy Seahawks are targeting. It is expected to happen, according to sources. Just reported to ESPN 10 minutes ago.”

A source close the USC coaching staff confirmed Mortensen’s report. That same source though gave me news last week that seemed so improbably that I didn’t post it. Perhaps I should’ve.

Read more…

That’s It, Houshmandzadeh Boycotting Madden ‘10

ESPN may be boycotting the Ben Roethlisberger story, but it’s all over this breaking news: Former Cincinnati Bengals & current Seattle Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (“championship!”) is boycotting “Madden ‘10″ because, he says, his rating is too low. (Terrorists throw up hands in disgust, say it’s just not worth hating us anymore).

TJ Houshmandzadeh

Houshmandzadeh (“championship!”) appeared on Colin Schrutebag’s show on Monday and waxed eloquently on a variety of subjects, including the fact that Seahawks coach Jim Mora invited Houshmandzadeh to climb Mount Rainier with him. But the most head-scratchingly funny moment came when he discussed the Madden ‘10 video game: Read more…