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New tenor around Seahawks with Macdonald in charge

Seattle begins offseason program under new coach

By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press
Published: April 10, 2024, 4:00pm

RENTON — Tyler Lockett looked to his right and made note of one of the most noticeable changes inside the Seattle Seahawks facility with Mike Macdonald now in charge as head coach.

The basketball hoop inside the team auditorium that was the center of so much activity under the previous regime is no longer there.

“That was really the weirdest thing because I really walked over there to grab a basketball and was like, ‘it’s not even there,’” Seattle quarterback Geno Smith said Wednesday.

There’s a lot different at the Seahawks team facility after Pete Carroll was let go after 14 seasons in charge after Seattle went 9-8 and missed the playoffs last season. The basketball hoop is just one of the changes, but it’s also a small symbol of how things will be different with Macdonald in charge in his first time as an NFL head coach and as the youngest head coach in the league.

Seattle began its offseason program this week, allowed a head start over the rest of the league because of the coaching change from Carroll to Macdonald after the season. And for the returning players, it was their first time with Macdonald in a formal setting outside of some introductory phone calls and text messages during the downtime of the offseason.

“I’m excited because I think this is a good group that we got. I think (general manager) John (Schneider) hired the right people,” safety Julian Love said. “I think we have something that we can really build off of with the guys that we have in here right now.”

Macdonald was hired as the replacement for Carroll at the end of January after quickly rising among the hot head coaching candidates for what he did in his time as the defensive coordinator in Baltimore. But going from Carroll, the oldest coach in the league, to Macdonald is a stark change for many of Seattle’s veterans, some of whom had never played for another head coach in the NFL.

“I’ve literally had three or four coaches my whole life from high school to now,” said Lockett, who restructured his contract to stay in Seattle this offseason. “So it’s just kind of weird, but at the same time it’s a new experience. There’s a lot of things that you will be able to learn from him.”

For Smith, the departure of Carroll was deeply personal. Carroll had championed for Smith to get another chance at being a starter and allowed him the opportunity to win the job after Russell Wilson was traded to Denver in the 2022 offseason.

Smith was at Carroll’s farewell news conference and called it a “terrible moment,” having to see Carroll let go. But Smith said he’s excited about the direction Macdonald wants to take the organization and the chance to work with new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb.

“From what I’ve seen so far, he’s got a vision, he’s got a plan, he’s already laid it out for us as a team,” Smith said of Macdonald. “It’s our job to help him and his job to help us get there.”