RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll offered an interesting response this week when asked for his biggest regret from the 2016 season.
"Probably the biggest regret is that we showed some bad expressions and stuff on the sidelines," Carroll said on the "Brock and Salk" show on 710 ESPN Seattle. "That’s not what we want to be. But it’s personal. It’s personal issues going through stressful, difficult, challenging times, and sometimes you do it well, and sometimes you don’t. That’s just individual growth."
The most notable outbursts involved cornerback Richard Sherman, who Carroll revealed was playing through an MCL injury for half the season.
"That weighs on you, particularly when you’re out there on the edge and you know you’re not quite a hundred percent," Carroll said. "And it fed into some of the stuff that he had to deal with."
In Week 6, before he suffered the injury, Sherman went after defensive coordinator Kris Richard on the sideline after a busted coverage against the Atlanta Falcons and had to be calmed down by teammates.
In Week 15, Sherman went off on Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after the Seahawks called a pass play from the Los Angeles Rams' 1-yard line.
"I had a big meeting with Richard going out, and he has some regrets about this season, didn’t go the way we wanted it to go," Carroll said.
"I just wanted to make sure we left on really good terms. We talk a lot. I talk with him all the time. I just wanted to make sure to touch base one more time because it was a difficult year for him. The media thing was a big deal and all that. He made it through it. It was hard."
Sherman played through pain, made the Pro Bowl and has still never missed a game in his NFL career.
But there's no doubt that his outbursts were a major storyline during the season. Carroll said part of the frustration had to do with the Seahawks' struggles on offense.
"We had some frustration that came out on the other side of the ball because nobody could feel," he said. "We couldn’t feel where we thought we could be. That’s what we saw. And it exposed itself in some lousy ways. We had to deal with that and get through it. And we did. But it’s still part of the distraction of the season."
The other issue, according to Carroll, was the sense of urgency this group felt. The Seahawks have had their core together for five years. They've gotten to the divisional round each of those seasons but have been unable to cash in on a second Super Bowl title.
"Yes, that is part of it," he said. "It’s hard for them to deal with the passing of the opportunity. And when it starts to slip a little bit, yeah, it’s hard. And so we have to really do a nice job there.
"But please don’t fault them for going for it. They’re going for it. They’re trying to figure it out. Sometimes we don’t do it right. Sometimes I don’t do it right. And I wish I could stay a step ahead of them. As the father figure, I wish I could catch them before they make their mistake, but sometimes they just have to make their error. And if you’re going to expect people to take it as far as we want to take it, then we’re going to have to understand sometimes it’s going to go too far."
Carroll made it clear that he's in Sherman's corner and expects the four-time Pro Bowler to be a big part of the Seahawks' future.
"I admire how hard he worked at this thing and how he tried to handle it," Carroll said. "And also when he made his mistakes, he was burdened by that. And he had to work his way through it. He’s a good man. He’s trying to get everything right."