Bruce Irvin Suspended: Is Carroll’s Culture Good for NFL?

Bruce Irvin suspended for four games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. How many players is that now, Pete Carroll?
Photo Credit: JC. Winkler

SEATTLE—Once again the Seattle Seahawks are in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Seahawks defensive end, Bruce Irvin received a four-game suspension on Friday May, 17, after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.  Irvin becomes the fifth Seahawks player in the past two years to be suspended for PED’s. Irvin is also the sixth player to violate the policy when you add corner Richard Sherman to the list.

Last season, both starting cornerbacks for the Seahawks Richard Browner and Sherman tested positive. Sherman appealed his suspension though and won.  Irvin however, said he would not appeal. Irvin said in a statement released by the Seahawks, “I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again.”

ESPN’s Mike Sando and ProFootball Talk’s Darin Gantt believe that Irvin tested positive for Adderall. It is what his teammates were busted for last year, and in his apology he mentioned that he took a substance that is “prohibited without a medical exemption”.

Controversy and scandal seem to follow Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll everywhere he goes. During his tenure at USC, there were the reports of Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews testing positive at the NFL Draft combine in 2009—Matthews never tested positive, but Cushing did test positive for steroids a year later—and Reggie Bush accepting monetary gifts. Is it just coincidence that Carroll left USC right before the sanctions were handed out?

Since Carroll joined Seattle in 2010, five players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and he has been accused of running up the score. The Carroll culture at USC has transferred over to the NFL. Carroll’s record shows that he has a successful formula, and that he must be doing something right. Yet, it is hard not to doubt his methods with his controversial history.

On one hand, Carroll is bad for the NFL. His players are cheating. At times, Carroll has insulted other teams by not showing respect to his peers. Usually when teams have an enormous lead, the coaches call conservative plays in an effort to run out the clock. Meanwhile, Carroll had Matt Flynn throw a bomb on a long fourth down against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 9, when they led 51-0. A week later, they ran a fake punt against the Buffalo Bills with a 30-point lead at the time. In youth sports, coaches preach having good sportsmanship. Carroll is not exactly the role model for that.

On the other hand, Carroll is great for the NFL. An argument can be made that Carroll was not running up the score. It is the defense’s job to prevent the other team from scoring. Clearly the Bills and Cardinals failed miserably. If they actually made a couple stops, then they would not have been in that position. Also, the NFL needs its villains. It needs the Detroit Lions and Carroll’s Seahawks. Without them, the league becomes stale.

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