The Seattle Seahawks offseason has been rife with rumor and speculation.
That wasn't helped last week when it appeared defensive star Bruce Irvin had gone public with plans to quit the team for the Atlanta Falcons after the 2015 season.
The comments didn't go down well with anxious Seahawks fans worried about a key man leaving. With the situation continuing to develop, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has now had his own say with some interesting comments this weekend.
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Speaking at an event to celebrate his induction into the USC Athletics hall of fame on Saturday, the veteran coach was quick to back Irvin when quizzed on that Atlanta Falcons quote:
"I'm really glad you asked me that, because he didn't say that," Carroll began. "We've been talking all along, he's been working out in Atlanta for three weeks, and he said in response to the question 'Do you want to come back home?' He said: 'Everybody likes to come back home, it's a dream to come back home.' It wasn't in reference to leaving us and coming back, so he was really adamant about it, and I asked him so let's leave it and not go at it any more. I'm glad you brought it up."
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Bruce Irvin's rookie contract comes to an end after the 2015 campaign and talk of the DE angling for a move away from Seattle only intensified when the franchise opted against picking up the fifth-year option on his contract.
Despite the exit talk, though, it appears Seattle are keen on extending Irvin's stay. In the meantime, Pete Carroll believes all the rumors have only helped Irvin and his Seahawks teammates succeed on the field.
""We've seen at the Seahawks just in this last year a number of things being written or stated about players," he said.
"What they're doing, what they're thinking, and they're being misrepresented in those situations. It was wonderful to see our guys respond, because they respond vehemently."
"They don't want to be positioned like that, they don't want to look like that... it doesn't have to be a reporter at a network, anybody can put those messages out, and they have a life to them. Our guys are getting better at understanding that, and Bruce has learned again from this lesson."
Only time will tell if Bruce Irvin does end up at the Atlanta Falcons come the 2016 NFL season. One thing is for certain though; you are unlikely to hear him giving many interviews on the subject in the future.
Seahawks fans: Do you think Seattle can keep top stars like Irvin and Russell Wilson moving forward? Have your say in the comments section below...