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Originally published July 26, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Page modified July 28, 2012 at 12:30 AM

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To Pete Carroll: Please bring Seattle some joy this year

In this year's bleak sports scene, Seattle needs success from the Seahawks in a desperate way.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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A letter to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the eve of the opening of training camp:

Hey, Coach, how are you? And I ask that question knowing that last week wasn't a good one, what with all the hassles over Marshawn Lynch's latest legal troubles.

I'm sure you hoped that the days when you heard the phone ring and dreaded the news on the other end were over. College coaches should be the ones worrying about that, right? They're still dealing with immature kids. You would think that NFL coaches would be working with a roster full of grownups.

But I know that isn't always the case, and I know there always is a thread of uncertainty where Lynch is concerned. Bad news sometimes catches up with him.

You're still relatively new to the Seattle sports scene, but I just wanted to remind you that while fans here are used to bad news, they're not immune to it. Not beyond the point of getting angry and fed up when the latest bit of misfortune floats across their computer screens.

But sometimes I think that being a Seattle fan means that if you don't have any bad news, then you don't have any news at all. (I think I'm paraphrasing a country song, something Loretta Lynn might have sung a few years back.)

But good news is the reason I'm writing you. More to the point, I'm pleading with you for some good news.

Long before you came to town, Craig Smith was the Seahawks' beat writer for The Seattle Times. Craig covered the Hawks for the longest stretch of futility in the franchise's history.

I mean, they were bad. Like 2-14 bad. Like fire-the-coach-again-and-again bad. Like owner-Ken Behring-wants-to-move-the-team-to-Los Angeles bad. Before Mike Holmgren arrived, the Seahawks stunk, Coach.

And late in one of those particularly hideous Sunday afternoons, Craig, tired of all of the losses, stood up and announced to a sympathetic press box, "I just want to cover some W's."

I mean, for Seattle sports fans and observers, it's been a bungle out there for far too many seasons.

Mariner seasons are on a continual losing loop. One year feels the same as another. Hope is drained by July Fourth.

Last winter's Husky basketball season was a huge disappointment. They had two first-round NBA draft picks, including lottery choice Terrence Ross, but they weren't able to make the tournament. And they suffered an ignominious loss to Minnesota in the semifinal of the NIT.

The arena deal, which felt like a slam dunk when Chris Hansen first announced it this past winter, now has become a bare-knuckled fight. Hope still floats. But for people who want the return of the Seattle Sonics, these summer months are full of high anxiety.

Even the Seattle Storm, the most dependable franchise in town, has foundered without Australian Olympian Lauren Jackson.

Things have gotten so bad around here I almost expect that no horse will finish the race in the Longacres Mile.

I'm telling you, Coach, we've been bitten by too many dog-day afternoons.

Sure, we've escaped the bleakness of Tyrone Willingham's reign at Washington. His successor Steve Sarkisian has taken the team to two consecutive bowl games. He has shined a light on the program. The Huskies are rising.

But let's face it, Washington only has been half of a good football team. Departed coordinator Nick Holt's porous defenses eroded some of the joy from some of the successes.

Washington will be bowling again this season. Quarterback Keith Price will make a legitimate run at a Heisman Trophy. But the Huskies probably are a season away from challenging for a Pac-12 Conference championship.

New coach Mike Leach is firing up the offense at Washington State. But we're talking baby steps this season, a slow slog toward respectability and maybe a lesser bowl appearance to whet the appetite.

So it's on you, Coach, as well as your assistants and your players, to get this city out of its malaise. More than ever, Seattle needs the Seahawks. And that means it needs something more than 7-and-9 mediocrity.

As it should be, the heat is on you. You've got to settle on a quarterback quickly. Matt Flynn? Russell Wilson? I don't care. But one of them has to be the answer sooner rather than later.

You have to keep Sidney Rice healthy and make sure Kellen Winslow gets open. You have to make sure the young offensive line continues its improvement.

You have to make first-round pick Bruce Irvin into a legitimate pass-rushing threat. Chris Clemons and Irvin have to become the buzz of the league.

Training camp is beginning, and the eyes, ears and good wishes are focused on your headquarters at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

This can be your city. You can own it if you give it what it hungers for. Nine or 10 wins aren't only doable, they're necessary.

I'm telling you, Coach. Seattle needs some W's.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or skelley@seattletimes.com

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About Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation.
skelley@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2176

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