Several years ago at the league meetings, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told me he’d like to see Bill Belichick coach the team into his 80s. Asked later that same day about this possibility, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told me, “Why stop there?”
Carroll turned 70 today, and he continues to be as energetic as a player half his age. During his weekly Wednesday press conference, he was asked about starting his eighth decade on earth.
“I feel great,” Carroll said. “I’m really grateful and appreciate where we are right now, this opportunity to be here, work with this franchise for the Allen family and their support, for the fans that we love to deal with. Everything that we are doing here is really just as good as I hoped. I’m so grateful for that and I’m lucky to have been found here. I think I’ve said it to you guys but people would ask ‘Why did you come here?’ and I didn’t know at the time really but I do know now. This is an amazing place to work and to represent and I’m very grateful for it.”
Carroll then used the occasion of his birthday to make a broader comment about the state of things in our nation and our world.
“The other thing that I wanted to say to you guys about it is ‘How do I feel?'” he said. “My heart is broken in so many ways about what is going on around us. There’s so much discontent with the way things are going, and this isn’t going to surprise you, but I think it’s turning. I think as hard as times have been, as difficult as it’s been, we have been through so much and exposed so much hardship and discontent, it’s ready to go. I don’t think we need to go any lower to get going again. I’m thrilled to be here in this situation to watch it happen, contribute to it, help our guys find a way that they can help in their areas of influence and do good stuff. What’s going to turn us into a better way is we are going to love the people around us better than we do. We are going to appreciate the people that are different from us better than we do. I think it’s coming, it couldn’t get any darker in terms of people griping at one another and having all of the discomfort that we feel but yet there’s more people that want to do good stuff and see people be taken care of and looked after until they can get on their own feet and get their own thing done. . . .”
“We should love the fact that are people are different and are uniquely from different backgrounds, outlooks, and perspectives. Let that challenge us to understand them more and appreciate the uniqueness that they bring. You’ve heard me talk about the uniqueness of our players for years and how we celebrate that. Now that’s not just football, I just hope that we are going to watch this turn and we are going to be able to contribute to it. Looking back, I’m saying this because I’m older than everybody, so I get to say what I want to say. We have a lot of good things to do right now and there’s a lot of good people that are fighting their asses off to make good things happen and they’re people fighting against it. I think that if we keep a good thought, a good hope, and we really look after the people around us then we are going to do good stuff. I’m appreciative, I’m grateful as hell and all of that but I’m also jacked up about what could turn. I’m hoping we will all see this thing and it will be really obvious to us. People will get well, people are going to get their money back, people are going get their jobs back, get their businesses back, get their lives in order that they want, and I’m looking forward to it.”
That’s great stuff from a coach who has accomplished plenty over the past 20 years. He has always had an optimistic viewpoint. Hopefully, his optimism regarding non-football matters is warranted. Hopefully, he’ll still be part of the NFL for many years to come.