Carroll clears up 2009 riff on former QB Sanchez

INDIANAPOLIS — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll strolled up to the podium, eyed a bunch of empty seats and pointed to a lonely beat writer: “You’re going to need to carry this thing.”

Mark Sanchez (left) and Pete Carroll had good times but a bumpy end at USC. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)

Quick laughs from those gathered Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine, but Carroll wasn’t finished.

The former USC coach was asked about his infamous January 2009 roasting of Mark Sanchez, then the school’s starting QB who chose to leave after his junior year for that April’s draft.

Carroll had called it an “against the grain” move by Sanchez, part of a chilly-at-best endorsement.

“You kind of disagreed with Mark Sanchez on his decision, on maybe if he was ready or not to make that jump,” one reporter began.

“You took that out of that exchange? … Good observation,” Carroll deadpanned, before complimenting Sanchez’s growth with the Jets over the past three seasons.

“Mark’s had a great start to his career,” he said. “He’s an extraordinary quarterback and kid, and there’s nothing to hold him (back) from being a really big-time player.”

— Marc Sessler

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