RENTON, Wash. – Pete Carroll said what started as a legitimate chance to get the ball back for one last possession Sunday quickly turned into something that was “wrong.”
Carroll said a series of increasingly ugly incidents at the end of the Seattle Seahawks’ 30-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars began when defensive end Michael Bennett tried to time the snap to strip the ball and force a turnover.
“What Mike was doing was, he was trying to swipe the ball when it was getting snapped,” Carroll said. “That’s something he’s tried before. That’s why he was way down there on the ground like that, cause he was trying to time it up and hit it. Trying to force a fumble to get the ball back.
“So, he winds up under a whole pile of stuff, and the stuff that happened after that was wrong. He was trying to get the ball, but after that, it got messy.”
Carroll said he told Bennett not to try that move anymore.
The situation quickly escalated, and Bennett, teammate Sheldon Richardson and Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournett were penalized, with Richardson being ejected as well.
“Everybody’s remorseful,” Carroll said. “We don’t want to play like that, we don’t want to look like that. Ever.”
On the next play, Seahawks defensive end Quinton Jefferson was also penalized and ejected. Things only got uglier from there, as a group of Jaguars fans threw objects from the stands at Jefferson, and Jefferson was restrained as he tried to go in the stands to retaliate.
“That was wrong,” Carroll said. “Wrong. He was wrong. I’ve talked to him about it. Professional athletes – people can say whatever they want to say. That’s kind of just what comes along with it. You have to be able to deal with it professionally, and he lost it. He feels terrible about it. It’s not the kind of kid he is. He just, emotionally got overrun and he lost it. Fortunately people restrained him and all that.
“It’s a tremendous learning opportunity for him and the other young guys.”
The NFL reportedly decided Monday that nobody would be suspended.
The Jaguars issued a statement Monday, saying they’ve found that four people who threw five objects including plastic cups with ice and liquid, a bag of popcorn and a plastic bottle onto the field. The team said once they identify the people, they will have their season tickets revoked if they’re season-ticket holders, and will be banned from future games.
As for Bennett’s attempted strip, Carroll said somebody told the Seahawks a few years ago about the move, claiming they’d seen it work. Carroll said he’s never seen a successful attempt, but defended the initial attempt as a fair try that went badly.
“You still have a chance to win,” he said. “You still have a chance for the ball to come back to us, and there’s things that happen. Herm Edwards is famous for it. It can happen. So, to just let it go – you’re not competing. We’re always trying to figure out a way to find a way to win the thing, so there’s still opportunities.
“… So, we have to think about if you can get it done. It should’ve been a pretty benign attempt, but it just didn’t wind up like that.”