Pete Carroll says he 'doesn't care' about perceived favoritism; Seahawks need to 'focus on what's coming'

RENTON, Wash. -- In response to a Sports Illustrated article that details perceived favoritism toward quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he hasn't done a good enough job of teaching his players to focus on the here and the now.

The SI story, published Friday morning, anonymously cites some former and current Seahawks who say the locker room became fractured, largely over the perception among some that Wilson wasn't held to the same standard as others -- an issue that was documented last year in an ESPN The Magazine story by Seth Wickersham. Some players who spoke to SI contend that the team's offseason overhaul -- which claimed cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive lineman Michael Bennett, among others -- was a result of that rift.

Carroll was asked after practice Friday for his reaction to the story.

"Only that obviously I didn't do a very good job of teaching, because one of the main principles in our teaching is that we're not going to worry about what's happened; all our focus goes on what's coming right now," he said. "And so that's a discipline that we learn, and I just haven't taught it well enough. Whether you win or whether you lose or whatever happens, you need to move forward and leave stuff behind and go. So other than that, I don't care about it."

Carroll was asked if he has ever seen an anti-Wilson rift in Seattle's locker room.

"No. No. I haven't. I don't even know what that would mean. I'm going to sound like Kavanaugh," he said in reference to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. "I don't know."

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, one of the only long-standing Seahawks veterans who was available to reporters in the locker room Friday, said he had no reaction to the SI story.

"I think it's just -- I mean, wasn't this stuff written [before], whenever it was?" he said. "Same story, so it is what it is."

Carroll was asked if he addressed the SI story with either Wilson or the team.

"I addressed it, just the media and the impact of the media and how they can factor in if you let it," Carroll said. "With all the hype that comes in this first week, just look at the pomp and all the circumstance and all that stuff last night, just to get that game underway. There's so much lead-in and so much buildup, that there's a lot going on and we have to deal with it really well whatever it is and whatever form it comes in. So if this is an example of an opportunity to do that, then we welcome it. We'll take it on, and we'll move through whatever."

The Seahawks open the season Sunday against the Broncos in Denver. Carroll said free safety Earl Thomas had a good week of practice after returning to the team Wednesday from his holdout, but he wouldn't declare anything with regard to Thomas' status for Sunday.

Seattle would need to activate Thomas onto its 53-man roster by Saturday for him to be eligible to play against Denver.

"He was solid all week long," Carroll said. "He's fired up and studying and working hard at it, and he had a good week. We'll let you know how that's going to turn out here tomorrow."

Thomas was scheduled to speak to reporters after practice, but a team spokesperson said he decided not to after all and that, per Thomas, he has nothing to say now that he didn't express in his Instagram post Wednesday. In the post, Thomas wrote that he wasn't going to let his teammates, the city or fans down and that "the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten."

The team said he will be available postgame Sunday if he is activated.

The Seahawks ruled out right guard D.J. Fluker; J.R. Sweezy will start in his place. Defensive end Dion Jordan is expected to play, according to Carroll, after practicing this past week for the first time all offseason following knee surgery and a separate leg injury.

Seattle also released cornerback Byron Maxwell, quarterback Austin Davis and linebacker Erik Walden off injured reserve with injury settlements.