Pete Carroll Breaks Silence on Seahawks Starter’s ‘Unusual’ Injury

Tariq Woolen

Getty Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen reacts during a game at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022.

The Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media for the first time since organized team activities (OTAs) kicked off last month, during which cornerback Tariq Woolen‘s mysterious absence raised some eyebrows.

While OTAs are voluntary, Woolen had attended the team’s non-mandatory workouts, which is when the Pro Bowler injured himself, ESPN‘s Adam Schefter and Brady Henderson were first to report. The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury “while walking on the practice field for OTAs” two weeks ago, Brady and Schefter revealed.

Woolen, who tied the NFL’s lead for most interceptions recorded by a rookie (6) last season, must’ve really hurt himself because he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on May 23. And the fact that Woolen hurt his knee while simply “walking,” according to the report, caused a stir on Twitter, as many people struggled to believe that’s how he went down.

However, Carroll told reporters on Thursday, June 1, that it was indeed an “unusual occurrence” and detailed what happened.

“He didn’t have a play where he got hurt. He was in between plays getting ready to get lined up and he felt something. It wasn’t bad, then before the play started he sat down and felt his knee (and) something was wrong.”

“Fortunately, everything went great,” Carroll said of Woolen’s surgery. “You see him, he’s getting around terrific already,” as the Seahawks’ former fifth-round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft was a spectator at practice on Thursday, attending with a sleeve over his knee, per The News Tribune‘s Gregg Bell.

“His attitude has been great,” the 71-year-old head coach said. “He never really accepted it when it happened. It was a weird occurrence he just took it in stride and [has] been really positive about it. We should be able to get him back soon.”

If everything goes to schedule Woolen, who finishing third in voting for the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award last season, should be ready to return when training camps starts at the end of July.

Tariq Woolen Sent Fans a Message From the Hospital

As Carroll mentioned, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder appears to be in good spirits considering the circumstances. Following his surgery, the UTSA alum posted a video on his Instagram Stories that showed his No. 1 supporter, Nola Woolen, by his side at the Houston hospital. He captioned the post with several laugh/cry face emojis and wrote, “Moms to the rescue.”

Tariq Woolen

@tariqwoolen/InstagramSeahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen shared a photo after surgery on May, 23, 2023.

Woolen also shared a post-surgery message, thanking fans for their support. He posted a photo on his Instagram Stories that showed him standing up with a bandage around his knee. “I’m fine and surgery was smooth!!! Appreciate the love.”

The Bills Signed 2 More Cornerbacks on Thursday

Before news of Woolen’s surgery was made public, the Seahawks announced they were re-signing veteran cornerback Artie Burns, which added some much-needed depth to the position, as several members of the Seahawks’ secondary were already absent at OTAs.

Ahead of Thursday’s practice, the Seahawks announced they were signing two more cornerbacks Benjie Franklin, a former undrafted free agent out of Tarleton State who spent time with the Green Bay Packers practice squad last season, and Montrae Braswell, a former FCS All-American out of Missouri State who initially signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after the draft.

In order to facilitate the move, Seattle released nose tackle Latrell Bumphus and running back Chris Smith. The Seahawks now have 12 cornerbacks on their 90-man roster, Henderson tweeted.

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