Pete Carroll is just fine with colorful players: ‘It’s really hard to be something that you’re not’

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BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks react to a play against the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – If you’re waiting for Pete Carroll to put a muzzle on the more colorful personalities on the Seattle Seahawks, you’re wasting your time.

Carroll said during his press conference Wednesday that he doesn’t just tolerate strong personalities – and some NFL coaches won’t – he condones them.

“I think a person has a chance to get much closer to their potential if they get true to who they are rather than something you might want them to be or try to govern them to be,” Carroll said. “It’s simply that. If I want to find somebody’s best, I need to get them as close to what their true potential is, and connect them to who they are and call on that to be consistent.

“It’s really hard to be something that you’re not. But it’s asked of people a lot.”

Not five minutes later, one of those very players strolled out onto the podium: Cornerback Richard Sherman.

“It makes for a better work environment when you don’t have to worry about trying to be somebody you’re not,” Sherman said. “You don’t have to worry about changing yourself, changing your mental approach, changing anything. You go out there and be the best you you can be.

“A lot of people say that every year: ‘I’m gonna be the best me I can be!’ But then they let society change them, and let the constraints of the world change who they are, because people judge who people really are. I think here, he lets players be who they really need to be to be successful.”

Not many organizations, for instance, would’ve allowed running back Marshawn Lynch to go off the grid for more than a month while he rehabbed from abdominal surgery.

Sherman said nobody on the questioned whether that was the right move.

“I think the outside world is like ‘what’s going on?’” Sherman said. “WE don’t panic. We know that guy is one of the best teammates you would ever have, playing for any team, any level, any spot. He will do whatever he can to make this team win, and he means no ill will, he’s not trying to hurt the team or do anything like that.”

Carroll said the team’s approach doesn’t always work out –“ sometimes it doesn’t fit,” he said – but that he and general manager look for a specific breed of player.

“We are what their attitude is,” Carroll said. “We’ve tried to find a guys who have a sense about them that they can overcome whatever the odds are and they’re gonna hang through anything.”

Sherman said it was obvious from the time he got to training camp as a rookie that the Seahawks did things differently – and that it’s become even clearer as he’s talked to players on different teams over the years since.

That’s allowed the Seahawks to pick up talented players that might’ve never stuck, had they wound up on teams with different philosophies.

“A lot of people say that their coaches are more hard on them about what they say, who they are, who they dress for games, how they act in practice, how they act in meetings,” Sherman said. “I can’t imagine working that way with these guys – it would do more harm than good I think. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say.

“Pete has found out through trial and error there’s more than one way to approach it.”

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