Ex-Seahawks Star Sends Warning to HC Mike Macdonald on ‘Picture Gate’

Mike Macdonald

Getty Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on February 01, 2024 in Renton, Washington.

The Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Mike Macdonald is making sweeping changes at the team’s practice facility.

To “create our own identity,” as defensive Leonard Williams explained, the hallway to the locker room is now bare. All the photos featuring iconic franchise moments under former head coach Pete Carroll were taken down.

Fans and analysts had strongly mixed reactions to the stark changes at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The debate grew so loud that Seahawks general manager John Schneider referred to the situation as “Picture Gate” while appearing on Seattle Sports.

Two days later, former Seahawks Super Bowl champion Kam Chancellor made his view on the redecorating clear. Chancellor warned that Macdonald’s efforts are likely in vain. “You can’t erase ‘The Legion,'” Chancellor posted on X. “The standard is already set.”

One of the pictures removed showed Chancellor’s game-saving forced fumble on Calvin Johnson Jr. at the 1-yard line.

Fellow Seahawks legend Richard Sherman reposted Chancellor’s message. A photo of Sherman’s famous tipped ball from the 2014 NFC Championship was also once featured on the wall.

A fan posted, “Dog nobody is erasing you. Just tryina not be the Mariners who are stuck reliving 1995.” But Sherman clapped back.

“Yea I’m sure every great franchise is removing its legendary players pictures from their building because they can’t ever live up to that. Makes sense,” Sherman replied. “Sure the Ravens don’t have pictures of Ray Lewis and that great defense. I’m sure Pittsburg doesn’t have pictures of all the great moments. I’m sure Dallas, SF, NE all remove pictures of the history of their Franchise because of a new coach. Makes sense.”

Fans tried to convince Sherman not to take it personally, but it didn’t land. “Pete Hung a SB banner no other coach in the franchise history has done that. But it’s on brand,” he posted.

Seahawks GM John Schneider Explained The Old Photos Are Going Digital

Amid the uproar, Schneider explained that they are not trying to erase history. But he wanted to give Macdonald, the youngest head coach in the NFL at age 36, a chance to move out from Carroll’s shadow.

“Right outside the team room to the indoor facility, (there were) a lot of pictures and slogans from Pete’s tenure here, like all the stuff we did together the last 14 years – (which was) awesome,” Schneider told Seattle Sports. “But celebrating our history is, like, all over this building, and so we’re actually going a little more digital, too.

“I was actually talking to (Seahawks president Chuck Arnold) about it this morning – we’re gonna have TVs up just kind of like celebrating the Dave Wyman tackles, if you will, or the Curt Warner runs and the Shaun Alexanders and the Coach Holmgrens and Coach Carrolls, the whole thing. Right when you walk around the corner from the indoor facility, I mean, we have the plates (with names) of every player that’s played here, and the pictures from all the guys, like more recent guys and all that.

“Really in Mike (Macdonald’s) mind, it’s kind of, hey, we’re celebrating our history, guys get that, but we’re not coming in here with certain slogans and leadership mottos and that sort of thing. We’re going to build our own as a team.”

Seahawks News: Current Players Have Nothing But Great Things To Say About Mike Macdonald

While the removal of Carroll’s legacy on the walls is painful for former players, those currently on the roster have no complaints. Schneider added, “I think the players really embraced it. Listening to Leo the other day, I thought he said it great. Like, hey, we’re totally gonna respect the past and everything that’s happened here, and, you know, we just gotta move forward.”

Left tackle Charles Cross told reporters of Macdonald on April 17, “I love him. He brings a tenacity to the building. He’s very blunt. He wants to get the job done.”

Cornerback Devon Witherspoon added, “He’s different. He’s different than Pete, what we’ve been around, what I’ve been around since I’ve been here. But it’s a nice, little change, though.” As for the transition of the new coaching staff, which includes 21 new assistants, “It’s been smooth so far.”

While learning all new terminology and game plans can take time, the task is uniting the players. “You can just tell there’s a sense of urgency right now,” Williams said. “In a way, that’s kind of bringing everyone together. That’s making everyone be so locked in.”