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Friendship, Respect Between Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll Spans Decades

By ZAC BOYER | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – After being fired as the head coach of the New York Jets in 1995, Pete Carroll turned down an opportunity to become Denver’s defensive coordinator under Mike Shanahan and instead accepted the same job with San Francisco.


Carroll was a highly regarded defensive mastermind whose Jets finished 6-10 in 1994, his lone season. He first interviewed with Shanahan, who offered him a job overseeing the Broncos’ defense, before 49ers head coach George Seifert asked him to interview.

A San Francisco native, Carroll returned home, remaining with the 49ers for the next two seasons. Shanahan then hired Greg Robinson, who helped the Broncos win Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 and remained with the team through 2000.

The two coaches will meet this Sunday as the Washington Redskins, with Shanahan as head coach, and Seattle, with Carroll as head coach, will face off in the NFC wild card round.

“Pete has always been very excitable,” Shanahan said, telling the story of the two’s interwoven paths. “He and I go back a long time.”

Carroll left San Francisco to become the head coach in New England for three seasons, then returned to college to serve as the head coach at USC for the next nine years before accepting the Seahawks job before the 2010 season.

“He’s a tremendous coach,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “His energy that he brings every day is unbelievable. It’s unmatchable. He loves the game of football. He loves us players. In terms of just the energy that he brings to practice and in the meetings and everything, you really want to play for him. You just want to put your best foot forward every time you step out on the field.”